UMHB planning to run a “Tight Shipp”
Friday, 15 June 2012 by Chuck Kelly
The coaching staff will be running a "Tight Shipp" with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor's baseball program.
UMHB's Vice-President for Athletics Ben Shipp has returned to the diamond to again head the Cru program after a 16 year absence. The decision to make the change from administration to coaching was easy according to the former 11-year head coach of the Crusaders.
"You almost never run into an ex-baseball coach," he explained. "You're always a baseball coach. It stayed in my blood and has always been important to me. In evaluating the program, we all saw that I was ready to get back into it. I didn't realize I missed it but this was an easy decision."
Since Shipp played baseball at Galena Park High School as a teenager, baseball has been an integral part of his life. After graduating from high school in 1976, Shipp enrolled at Alvin Community College, where he was shortstop before transferring to UMHB, where he was moved to second base on the baseball team for his final three years of higher education.
After receiving his bachelor's degree in 1980, the young Shipp coached baseball and football for a year at C. H. Yoe High School in Cameron for a year, then coached baseball for four years at Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca before being hired in the fall of 1985 as assistant baseball coach to Chuck Douglas at UMHB.
That job didn't last long --- just two weeks, as a matter of fact --- since Douglas gave up coaching to take his first administrative job.
"I was in the right place at the right time," Shipp commented. "I was assistant Athletic Director, then Athletic Director, for the last 10 of my 11 years as head baseball coach. When the university got into NCAA Division II, we added football and women's soccer and it finally became too much to handle. I got out of coaching in the Fall of '98." (but the fire still burned)
May 21 of this year, Kyle Shipp, oldest son of Ben and Donna, was named full-time assistant coach for the UMHB baseball team. The former Belton High School and UMHB baseball player returned to his alma mater to work alongside his father.
"This is really exciting for me," Kyle Shipp exclaimed. "I've always said that UMHB feels like home since I literally grew up here. Now, to have the chance to come back and put on the purple, white and gold is an incredible opportunity for me."
Kyle was varsity catcher for the Tigers for three years before his graduation in 2002. He was selected All-District twice and was catcher on the 2002 regional finals team under coach David Tidwell. He was also the center on the BHS football team for four years.
Kyle Shipp was the Cru's four-year starting catcher at UMHB, three-time ASC Academic All-Conference and winner of the Fred Jacoby Award. He also was UMHB's Male Senior Athlete and Scholar Athlete of the Year before graduation in 2007. He then went to Southwestern University as a volunteer coach for a year before becoming an assistant baseball coach for four years, working with the team's catchers and serving as the Pirates hitting coach his last two seasons.
He and his wife, Tiffany, and their son, Gehrig, were happy about the return home.
"Basically, I'll be doing whatever we need done....recruiting, working with the catchers and hitters....whatever," he commented. "I'm excited to be working with dad. He taught me baseball when I was young and still teaches me now that I'm not quite-as-young. He's a very good coach and there's a lot I'm looking forward to learning more from him."
This week, a third Shipp joined the staff at Red Murph Field.
Nathan Randal Shipp, who answers ONLY to Nate, just graduated last month from Southwestern University in Georgetown and has joined the Cru baseball program as a volunteer assistant coach.
Nate is another former Belton Tiger. He was a backup second baseman as a sophomore, then moved to shortstop for his junior and senior years, earned All-District honors both seasons and was the team's MVP before graduation in 2007.
After "red-shirting" for a year at Tarleton State University, he transferred to SWU, where he played second and later third base for the Pirates. Nate earned Honorable Mention All-Conference two years.
He's single (with a girlfriend) and eager to get into coaching.
"I'm excited about this chance to learn....I need to learn 'how' to coach. You play baseball all your life and want to coach but realize how much you have to learn about coaching," he summarized. "That's why I'm here. I'm not a teammate now, I'm a coach and that will be the biggest adjustment. It's a lot different but I'm ready to get going."
Nate Shipp was a kinesiology major at SWU and has a knowledge of anatomy and the physics of the body itself. He'll help a great deal with strength and conditioning of the Cru players
Head coach Ben Shipp added: "These two complement each other well. Kyle, playing baseball and football, was always in the weight room. A lot that he did on his Master's degree dealt with conditioning, so when these two get together, the program and I are the beneficiaries."
Ben and Kyle each have Master's degrees in Sports Management and Nate still has time to decide.
"These two have worked together before, coaching summer league baseball, so this is really a wonderful fit," the elder Shipp stated. "I'm looking for two things next season....one, as far as the program itself, establishing a relationship with the players....and, two, teaching. There are three of us and we are going to teach, teach, teach. I'm really looking forward to it."
It can be said that UMHB's baseball program is in "Shipp Shape" --- Big Shipp (Ben), Shipp (Kyle) and Little Shipp (Nate), who is actually a little taller and doesn't let the other two forget it.