With a simple picture taken following the game, Lipscomb celebrated his 500th career win Tuesday at Etowah, with the Wildcats having defeated their Region 5AAAAAA foe 80-67.
In a head-coaching career that is in its 21st season at Wheeler, Lipscomb has garnered numerous accolades and achievements over the years. He has brought the Wildcats five state championships — 1994, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2009 — and led the program to 12 region titles.
The school’s gymnasium bears his name, and he was selected the 2012 National High School Coaches Association Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
However, winning championships and garnering honors aren’t as much the motivators for Lipscomb, who’s more proud of the student-athletes he’s coached at Wheeler.
“This is the only place I’ve been a head coach, so I’m really proud that all 500 of these wins have come here,” Lipscomb said. “I’m proud for the school, and I want the players and assistant coaches to know that we accomplished this. It wasn’t just me.
“I’ve had a good administration support me over the years, and the community and fan support has been good to me, too. I’ve had good kids and good student-athletes that want to be successful, and I’m just proud of what we accomplished together.”
Lipscomb’s teams have made eight trips to the state semifinals, and in 2005, the Wildcats became the first boys basketball team in 54 years to win three championships over a four-year span in the state’s highest classification.
In his first year at Wheeler in 1992, Lipscomb took over a program that had gone 4-20 in the season before his arrival. He quickly turned things around, capturing the state title a year later with a team led by future NBA All-Star Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
“That year we won our first state championship is a moment I’ll never forget,” Lipscomb said. “All of the state championship teams have been great, but that one really sticks out. We didn’t have a great record, but we hung in there when it mattered.
“I remember the players on all of the state championship teams, and a lot of those kids come back. Those guys have gone on to do great things, but they still come back. That’s another thing I’m really proud of. A lot of these players come back and continue to show their support.”
The ability to help young people grow into adults has been a driving force for Lipscomb over the years.
“This never gets old,” he said. “It’s a joy and a blessing to work with young kids and help them in life. I work with some great kids at Wheeler and the student body and administration really support us.”
Although there are a lot of wins and a lot of years behind him, Lipscomb doesn’t have any plans on slowing down any time soon. His team is 4-1 this season as it seeks a 13th region championship and sixth state title.
“I hope we can continue to put a good product on the court that gets people excited,” he said. “More importantly, I want to continue to produce good citizens and to get kids in college.”