Shane Clipfell feels at home as head womens basketball coach at Western Michigan.
Clipfell will now run his own program after working on Suzy Merchant’s staff for the last 14 years, first at Eastern Michigan, then for the last five at Michigan State.
Clipfell has been on the job for less than a month at WMU. He had a Meet And Greet Party he won’t soon forget.
WMU administrators planned for 50 guests, but close to three times as many showed up … capped off with Merchant and the entire MSU team.
“The neatest thing is when Suzy brought the Michigan State team over and totally took me off guard,” said Clipfell of the reception. “And, on top of that their going away gift to me was how they learned the Western Michigan fight song on the way over on the bus and they, Suzy and the Michigan State team, sang it to our team.
“That epitomizes Suzy and just how she’s been for me in particular, to do that is quite a statement. It’s an individual statement on her and what she stands for.”
Now, Clipfell will be busy working on a plan to build WMU into a MAC power after the Broncos slipped from a conference championship in 2003 to a spot in the MAC West division basement in recent years.
Clipfell knows all about success, helping the Eagles to a MAC championship in 2004 and the Spartans to a Big Ten regular season title in 2011.
Clipfell, who hopes to complete his coaching staff in the next week or so, has already landed a prize recruit in Fort Wayne 6-foot-1 post player Miracle Woods.
“We’re real happy to get Miracle,” Clipfell said. “It looked like we were pretty guard-heavy and really needed some help in the post.”
So Clipfell is looking forward to a bright future at WMU with so many great memories of Merchant and the Spartans still close to his heart.