Shane Clipfell spent the last five years at Michigan State under Suzy Merchant. (Photo via Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE)
It's been a dry eight years for Western Michigan women's basketball. And it's also been a lean few weeks in terms of MAC women's basketball coaching news — Kent State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Ball State remain open. Well, at least we're down to four, because WMU bucked up and hired their next coach: Shane Clipfell, most recently the top assistant at Michigan State.
Seems like a solid hire. Clipfell reported to Suzy Merchant, former Eastern Michigan head, and he was on her EMU staff as well. He technically already has a MAC coaching record, assuming the active role of head coach during Merchant's maternity leave in the 2006-07 season, going 13-11 and 10-6 in MAC play.
I don't know if it's going to help his coaching acumen that he grew up less than an hour from Kalamazoo, in Colon, Michigan, but at least it proves that he knows the state inside and out in terms of recruiting the state. Between success at EMU and State ... that's a pretty decent breadth of experience to bring to to the table.
In terms of returning players I might say Clipfell is inheriting some decent talent. They're losing Maria Iaquaniello as well as the Giden twins, Miame and Robin (Miame missed most of last season with an injury but it doesn't look like she's coming back). The leader will be lone senior Aurielle Anderson, a 5'4" sparkplug who averaged 9.1 points, 3.2 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals over the course of the year. The team played at a high-possession rate but Clipfell's Spartans were a bit slower, but the results were there: they were fourth in the B1G in offensive points per game and third in D-PPP.
Power programs are Toledo, Central Michigan and Eastern Mi— well, Toledo at least. There's some room at the top, perhaps, for another one.