Season preview: CHD interviews Texas-Pan American coach Dan Hipsher

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Texas-Pan American coach Dan Hipsher about having his son on his staff.


You were a 2-time captain of the basketball team at Bowling Green State and an Academic All-American: what is the key to being a good leader, and how much importance do you place on academics? The key to being a leader is to set a good example and live what you preach. Whether you are a coach or player you have to be man enough to step up and tell someone when they are doing something wrong. I try to treat our players like men rather than “mother-hen” them, and it seems to have worked.

In the 1978 NCAA tourney as a graduate assistant at Miami OH, Randy Ayers had 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 3-point overtime win over Marquette: how were you able to overcome a 10-point deficit with less than 4 minutes to go in regulation and end up beating the defending champs? They blew a couple of opportunities down the stretch and we had a great coach and some great players who made some big buckets. It was a classy group: the MAC regularly made an impact in the NCAA tourney back then.

In the 1984 NCAA tourney as an assistant under Coach Don Donoher at Dayton, tourney MOP Patrick Ewing had 15 points and three blocks in a win by eventual champion Georgetown: where does Ewing rank among the most dominant players you have ever seen? He was a dominant player physically but their entire team was fantastic. Ewing just denied everything at the basket. We had to live on jump shots, which made it a tough battle for us, but we played really well. The reason I am coaching is that I worked for Don, who was 1 of the best in the business.

In the 1985 NCAA tourney, Ed Pinckney scored 20 PTS in a 2-point win by eventual champion Villanova: how much of a home-court advantage did you have while playing the Wildcats in Dayton? We had a great crowd for an unbelievable game that was nip-and-tuck the whole night. Harold Jensen drove the lane to give the Wildcats the lead, and then we came down and Sedric Toney almost made a shot at the buzzer to tie it. Two years in a row of getting knocked out by the eventual champ is not too bad.

In January 2003 as head coach at Akron, Derrick Tarver scored 41 points but Brandon Hunter had 30 points and a school-record 26 rebounds in 53 minutes during an 8-points 4-ovetime win by Ohio: where does that rank among the most exciting games of your career? It was unbelievable with great play after great play. They made a game-tying bucket in OT on a 1983 NC State-type play with an airball that turned into an alleyoop.

In the 2011 NIT title game as assistant to Anthony Grant (who played for you at Dayton) at Alabama, Graham Hatch scored 12 points (4-4 3PM) in a 9-point win by Wichita State: what was the feeling like in your locker room afterward? At my age I know the value of playing in an NIT title game at Madison Square Garden: any coach would like to be involved in something like that. Their defense really flustered us in the second half. I always said that my four favorite places to play would be Phog Allen Fieldhouse, Pauley Pavilion, the Palestra, and the Garden: I have made it to three of those four, but not to Phog.

In the 2012 NCAA tourney, Doug McDermott had 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 1-point win by Creighton: do you think that Josh Jones fouled Trevor Releford on his step-back 3-point attempt at the buzzer? No he did not! I like Trevor and he had to take a really hard shot…but you cannot make a foul call at that point to decide the game.

Your non-conference schedule includes games against Utah, Houston, St. Louis, and Creighton: which of these games do you feel will present your biggest test? All of those are extremely tough opponents with good coaches. We are a young team so those games will be great building blocks for us before we head into conference play.

Your son Andy played for you at Akron and is now one of your assistants: how good a player was he back in the day, and how do you like having him on your staff? He was a heck of a player who had a great career at Akron. He had back surgery as a sophomore that limited him a bit, but I think he is still in the top-15 of many career stat categories at Akron. He stays on top of recruiting and helps me coach: he trained under Bob Knight and Lon Kruger, so he is telling me what to do now!

What are your goals for the upcoming season, and what are your expectations for the upcoming season? I expect us to really make an impact in the WAC and show improvement. We have so many new pieces and some injuries that we are fighting through, but I am excited to see us make a nice turnaround. We have some size: Shaun Noriega will be a big key for us if he can get healthy after missing most of the past 2 seasons with a foot problem.