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  Coach Beryl Shipley

Beryl Clyde Shipley, third of three sons born to Tom and Blanche Dykes Shipley, was born on August 10, 1926 in Kingsport, Tennessee.

From sandlot baseball to no-net basketball, marbles and football, sports ruled the youngest Shipley's world. Beryl attended Dobyns-Bennett High, lettering three times in basketball, twice in baseball and once in football.

Following his WW II years in the Navy, his athletic prowess earned young Shipley a basketball scholarship to Hinds Junior College in Raymond, Mississippi, where he was a starting guard. That year Beryl won the hand of his sweetheart, Dolores Gerrard of Yazoo City, and happened to caught the eye of the coach at Delta State College in Cleveland, MS. Shortly thereafter, Shipley and his new bride moved to DSC where his passion for basketball, and the G.I. Bill helped him pay for his education.

After graduation in 1951 with a B.S. in Health and Physical Education and a minor in social studies, Beryl accepted the position of head basketball-football-baseball coach at Morgan City High School in Morgan City, MS. On top of his grueling athletic schedule, Coach Shipley managed to teach five social studies classes and coach his expecting wife's girls basketball team--all for a salary of $1800! (per year!!)

In 1952, Shipley moved Dolores and their new daughter, Marilyn, to Starkville, Mississippi, where he was Starkville High School's head basketball coach. Coach Shipley's built a record of 111-26 in his five-year stay at Starkville High! He also managed to earn a Masters Degree in Education Administration from Mississippi State and bring his second daughter, Patricia, into the world.

In 1957, John Robert Bell, the Athletic Director at SLI and a Kingsport native, was in need of a head basketball coach for the battling Bulldogs. Bell noticed Beryl's achievements at Starkville and didn't hesitate to offer him the head basketball position at SLI. That year, Beryl moved his family for the last time, arriving in Lafayette just in time to welcome Hurricane Audrey. The Shipley family grew in 1959 with the addition of daughter Amy. It was her knack for home-baked chocolate chip oatmeal cookies that motivated many a battling Bulldog through much of the Shipley era.

Sixteen years after his inaugural game, and 425 games later, Shipley held 296 victories and 129 losses for a .696 win percentage to earn the title "Winningest Coach in USL's 100 Year History". He had 15 winning seasons in his 16-year tenure, with the exception of a 12-13 record in '62-63 and coached 3 All- Americans.

Notable Achievements

  • Gulf States Conference Coach of the year 4 times, runner-up 2 times
  • NAIA District 27 Coach-of-the-Year: 64-65, 65-66
  • Southland Conference Coach of the year 1971-72, 72-73
  • Louisiana's Collegiate Coach of the Year in 1972-73
  • 1972 Chosen to coach the South Squad in Aloha Classic in Hawaii
  • 1972 Coached the Louisiana All Star Team in the Texas All Stars vs. Louisiana All Stars
  • Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame (La. Association of Basketball Coaches) inducted 1984
  • Hinds Community College Sports Hall of Fame - inducted 1988
  • Selected twice as feature lecturer at University of Mexico Basketball Clinic

Overall Records

  • Home: 173-24
  • Road: 123-105
  • Conference: 130-42 (at home: 77-9, on road: 53-33)
  • Versus College Division: 246-79
  • Versus College Division Teams in Lafayette: won last 29 games in a row following a 93-90 loss to Baylor, University on January 8, 1971.
  • Overall record in the 2-year period, 1971-73, stood at 49-9 included a 27-9 when they played in the university division and 22-0 when playing college division teams.


  • 1957-58 to 1970-71 SLI/USL teams played in the Gulf States Conference. Won 5 Gulf States Conference championships; runners up 6 times.
  • 1960-61 Team ranked 10th in National College-Division poll by UPI
  • 1964-65 NAIA district 27 champs
  • 1965-66 NAIA district 27 champs * 1971 Achieved NCAA University Division status, entered Southland Conference.
  • 1970-71 USL finished with 25-4 record; won Southland Conference crown with a perfect 8-0 record.; Competed in NCAA College Division Championship finishing 3rd at Evansville, IN.
  • 1971-72 USL finished with 25-4 record, competed in NCAA "Sweet 16". Ranked 8th nationally
  • 1972-73 USL finished with 24-5 and advanced to NCAA "Sweet 16". Ranked 7th nationally.
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