Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Central's Schipper receives honorary degree

Contact: Larry Happel
(641) 628-5278

Central’s Schipper receives honorary degree
PELLA(IOWA)—College football hall of famer Ron Schipper has been awarded an honorary degree from Central College, where he coached for 36 seasons.

Schipper was presented an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the college’s commencement ceremonies. He was presented by Central athletics director Al Dorenkamp, who was an all-America linebacker for Schipper, serving as captain of Central’s 1974 NCAA Division III championship squad.

“It’s time for us to acknowledge Ron Schipper’s contributions to Central College, which go far beyond athletics,” Dorenkamp said. “He really represents what this institution stands for.”

“In a day when the evaluation of coaches focuses myopically on the number of victories, Ron Schipper matches the best of them,” said Dr. David Roe, Central president, reading from the board of trustees’ citation. “But he towers over them when measured for integrity, sportsmanship and a caring personality.”

Schipper and his wife Joyce now live in Holland, Mich. A native of Zeeland, Mich. and a Hope College graduate, Schipper was named an associate professor emeritus of physical education after retiring in 1996. He piloted Central to 36 consecutive winning seasons and compiled a 287-67-3 career record for a lofty .808 winning percentage and the 12th-highest victory total in college football history. Schipper also coached high school football in Michigan for nine years at Northville and Jackson and has a combined 45-year record of 320-78-5.

But Schipper also spent time as an administrator, instructor, academic department and division chair and dean of men. From 1964-93 he was the college’s athletics director, a period in which the Dutch brought home seven NCAA Division III national team championships. In his final 16 years as athletics director, Central won 18 men’s and women’s Iowa Conference all-sports titles. During his tenure, 28 student-athletes received academic all-America recognition and nine were named NCAA postgraduate scholars.

In 2000, the National Football Foundation inducted Schipper into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. and he was inducted as a charter member of the Central College Athletics Hall of Honor in 2002.

Schipper was president of the 8,000-member American Football Coaches Association in 1994, served on the group's board of trustees from 1985-94 and was a member of the AFCA's College Football USA Blue Ribbon Task Force.

Currently Schipper serves on the board of directors of Football Foundation USA and is the USA team player coordinator. For the past eight years he has coached the AFCA Division III all-star team at the Aztec Bowl in Mexico each December. He also is a volunteer assistant for his son Tim, head football coach at Fennville (Mich.) High School.

From 2000-03, Schipper served on Central College’s board of trustees. The Central football team room at A.N. Kuyper Stadium bears his name, as does the $2.6-million Ron Schipper Fitness Center, which the college opened in 1999.

His Central teams won a record 18 Iowa Conference championships, including 10 crowns in his final 13 years. Central was selected for the NCAA Div. III playoffs 12 times, winning the 1974 national title and advancing three times to the national finals at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.


Larry Happel
Associate Director of College Relations
and Sports Information Director
Central College
Campus Box 5400
Pella, Iowa 50219

Web site:
Office: (641) 628-5278