The Western Michigan Division of Intercollegiate Athletics officially announced the hiring of Shane Clipfell as the sixth women’s basketball coach in program history, Friday, April 13, 2012.
Western Michigan has been on the rise since Clipfell took over the program prior to the 2012-13 season, as the Broncos have increased their win mark every season with Clipfell at the helm, winning 11 games his first season, 13 games in 2013-14 and 20 wins this past year.
Clipfell has strong ties in the state of Michigan, the Mid-American Conference and the Midwest and has worked at every level of women’s basketball.
Western Michigan is coming off one of its most successful seasons in program history, boasting a 20-13 overall record - one victory shy of tying the school record for wins (21) set in 1978. The 2014-15 campaign was just the fourth 20-win season in school history.
WMU went 11-7 during MAC regular season play, finishing tied for second in the MAC West and fourth overall in the conference, the team’s best finish since 2006. The Broncos also won two games in the MAC Tournament for first time since 2003, defeating Bowling Green and Central Michigan.
The success was rewarded as Western Michigan received a postseason bid, appearing in the WNIT vs. Arkansas State. It was just the fourth time WMU earned a spot in a WNIT bracket, joining the 1999, 2000 and 2004 squads.
The Broncos finished 2014-15 with an RPI ranking of 103, fourth highest in the MAC, and played a tough non-conference schedule that included road games at Big Ten opponents Ohio State and Michigan, as well as Horizon League champion Green Bay.
WMU ranked 35th in the nation in scoring defense - only allowing 57.4 ppg - and 34h in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 36.7 % from the floor. Miracle Woods was named Second Team All-MAC for the second straight season. She led the MAC and ranked 36th in the nation for field-goal percentage, shooting 51.4 %.
Western Michigan continued its ascend in Clipfell’s second season, posting the most wins for program since 2007-08 with a 13-18 overall record, 8-10 MAC record. The Broncos finished fourth in the MAC West after being picked fifth in the preseason poll. The team improved its overall win total & MAC win total by two from Clipfell’s first season.
The Broncos also improved their seeding by two from the previous year in the MAC Tournament, earning a first round home game as the No. 7 seed, where they defeated Miami, 82-72. WMU went on to make its second straight trip to Cleveland in as many years under Clipfell, after failing to advance to Quicken Loans Arena for tournament play the previous four years prior to his tenure.
Coming off a sweep of Toledo in the regular season for the first time since 2006, Western Michigan could not get past the Rockets for a third time in the year, bowing out in the second round of the tournament with a loss to UT. WMU’s 78-72 win on the road in the regular season was the Broncos’ first in Toledo since 2008.
During the MAC season, Western Michigan protected its home floor, going 6-3 at University Arena and 1-0 in the MAC Tournament against its league counterparts. Regardless of venue, the Broncos were not easily disposed of, as five of the team’s conference losses were by less than 10 points. WMU’s offense had improved significantly, averaging 68.1 ppg in 2013-14 during MAC games, nearly 13 ppg more than the season before.
For the second straight year, the low post duo of Miracle Woods and Marquisha Harris earned recognition from the conference. Woods was named Second Team All-MAC, becoming the first Bronco since 2008 to pick up the award, and Harris was named Honorable Mention All-MAC. Both were also MAC Player of the Week selections during the season.
The 2012-13 season marked the beginning of the Clipfell era at Western Michigan, as he took on the task of rebuilding the Bronco program that had posted just 33 wins and 17 conference victories in the four seasons prior.
Progress could be seen across the board in Clipfell's first season. The team posted an 11-20 overall and 6-10 MAC record, marking the most wins in five years. The team also advanced to the second round of the MAC Tournament for the first time since 2008 after defeating higher-seeded Eastern Michigan on the road in the first round.
Another signature win for the Broncos was a 55-54 victory over then eight-time defending regular season MAC champion Bowling Green in Kalamazoo.
Clipfell's totals set a new mark for the most overall wins (11) and MAC wins (6) as a first-year head coach at Western Michigan. He also became the first women’s basketball coach to win his first game at WMU (defeated American, 57-53) and win a MAC Tournament game in his first season.
Two Broncos were recognized for their play by the conference. Sophomore forward Marquisha Harris was named Honorable Mention All-MAC and freshman center Miracle Woods was one of five named to the All-MAC Freshman team.
PRIOR TO WMU:
In the previous 14 years prior to Western Michigan, Clipfell worked in different capacities on a Suzy Merchant staff. He began with Merchant as an assistant at Eastern Michigan during the 1998-99 season and coached alongside Merchant at Michigan State for five years after Merchant took the Spartan helm in 2007-08. For the final three years, Clipfell served as the associate head coach at Michigan State, coordinating the program’s recruiting efforts, including organizing official, unofficial, off-campus and home visits.
In addition to recruiting, Clipfell focused on MSU's offensive game preparation, in-game adjustments and skill development of perimeter players. The Spartans captured their first outright Big Ten title in school history in 2010-11 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament four-straight seasons.
While Clipfell was at Michigan State, the Spartans produced 17 All-Big Ten recognitions, 20 Academic All-Big Ten selections, and several players collected major Big Ten awards. Kalisha Keane was named Player of the Year in 2010-11, after earning Sixth Player of the Year the season prior. The Spartans had back-to-back Defensive Players of the Year in Alyssa DeHaan (2009-10) and Lykendra Johnson (2010-11). Both Keane and DeHaan were named All-Americans following their senior seasons and DeHaan finished her career second all-time in NCAA history in blocked shots.
In the nine seasons at Eastern Michigan, Clipfell helped build the Eagles into one of the top programs in the MAC. EMU compiled a record of 160-103 (.608), including three 20-win seasons, three postseason appearances and two MAC West Division titles. The 2003-04 team claimed the MAC West Division and MAC Tournament championship for the first time in school history, earning the program’s first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament en route to a 22-8 record.
Clipfell was the acting head coach at Eastern Michigan for all but four games of the 2006-07 season, while Merchant was on maternity leave. He guided the Eagles to a 13-12 record and a second place finish in the MAC West with an 11-5 record. For his efforts, Clipfell received votes for MAC Coach of the Year honors. Individually, senior Sarah VanMetre became EMU’s first women’s basketball player to be named an Academic All-American, senior Patrice McKinney was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year and freshman Alyssa Pittman was named MAC Freshman of the Year.
PREVIOUS HEAD COACHING EXPERIENCE:
Prior to coaching at the Division I level, Clipfell spent five seasons at Glen Oaks Community College, including three as head coach, and 11 years as the varsity head coach at Colon High School.
After spending two seasons as an assistant at Glen Oaks Community College (1994-95), Clipfell took over the program in 1996 and tallied a 58-35 overall record. His 1997 team finished with a No. 3 final ranking in the NJCAA after a 28-8 record and a fifth-place finish in the NJCAA Tournament. For his efforts, he landed numerous coaching awards, being named Coach of the Year for the Michigan Community College Athletic Association, the Western Conference, and the National District. In addition, he also earned the NJCAA Tournament Sportsmanship Award. Clipfell coached a NJCAA second-team All-America player in 1997, and a third-team All-America honoree in 1998.
While at Colon High School (1982-1998), Clipfell tallied a 185-65 career varsity head coaching record. His teams captured seven conference championships, three district championships, two regional championships and one Final Four appearance. He assisted in seven of his players receiving collegiate scholarships. He was named the area Coach of the Year by the Sturgis Journal in 1990 and 1992. He was also named the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Regional Coach of the Year in 1992, 1994 and 1995. In 2005, Clipfell was inducted into the Colon High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his achievements.
In 1996, Clipfell coached an all-star team for 10 days in Austria and then was selected to coach Athletes In Action for a summer tour in Bolivia in 1997. He also served as the co-director of Glen Oaks Community College summer basketball camps for three years.
Clipfell (DOB: 8/29/63) earned a bachelor of science degree in communications at Eastern Michigan in 2006. Before Clipfell joined the coaching profession full-time at the collegiate level, he worked in the manufacturing industry. Clipfell and his wife, Connie, have two adult children, John and Lauren.