Former Witt Hoops Coach Dan Hipsher Announces Retirement

Photo Credit | Jose Juarez/Oakland University Athletics
Photo Credit | Jose Juarez/Oakland University Athletics

Former Wittenberg men's basketball head coach Dan Hipsher has announced his retirement after more than 40 years as a college coach.

Hipsher got his first head coaching job with Wittenberg in 1989, following the legendary Larry Hunter, who became the head coach at Ohio University after 12 years leading the Tigers. Hipsher spent four seasons patrolling the Wittenberg sidelines before making the same jump to Division I as his predecessor by leaving for the head position at Stetson in 1993.

Since leaving Wittenberg, Hipsher's career included stints as a head coach and an assistant for various programs at the Division I level, highlighted by nearly a decade at the helm at the University of Akron. Through his years of experience with a variety of well-regarded programs, Hipsher still holds a fondness for Wittenberg.

"It is one of the best jobs I ever had," Hipsher said. "The place, the community, the tradition makes Wittenberg a truly special place." 

Hipsher posted an overall record of 97-18 at Wittenberg, including a mark of 50-6 in North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) action. During that time, the Tigers collected back-to-back NCAC Tournament titles in 1990 and 1991 and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament three times in four seasons. The Red and White made their deepest postseason run under Hipsher in 1990 by advancing to the Sectional Championship game.

Under Hipsher's guidance, Brad Baldridge earned back-to-back All-America awards, highlighted by National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division III Player of the Year honors in 1991. Four players earned NABC All-Great Lakes Region honors under Hipsher's tutelage, including Baldridge, Bill Funderburg, Kris Spriggs, and Matt Croci.

Croci, the Tigers' current head coach, holds Hipsher in the highest regard.

"He is the reason I came to Wittenberg," said Croci, Wittenberg Class of 1994. "Though Coach Hipsher was not an alumnus of Wittenberg, he had a love for the university and the community around it, and that helped keep the tradition going of such a storied program."

Hipsher's final coaching stop was Oakland University from 2016-19. In his first season on the Oakland bench, the Golden Grizzlies won their final nine conference games to capture their first-ever Horizon League regular season championship. While at the Division I level, Hipsher's teams made three NCAA tournament appearances, won five conference championships, and captured two conference tournament titles. As a head coach, Hipsher recorded more than 250 wins, including more than 150 victories in conference play.