Legendary Coach Tim Whipple Retires After 43 Years

By Thomas Grant, Jr.

After 848 career victories, six state boys basketball titles and having sent numerous players into the college and coaching ranks over 43 years, Irmo’s Tim Whipple has called it a career.

Last week, the Palmetto State’s second-winningest boys basketball coach announced his retirement. He leaves behind a legacy of winning on display in the form of championship banners in “The Temple of Doom” and the lives of those who competed for him.

“It’s almost impossible to highlight one career achievement over another,” Whipple said. “I guess something that I am very proud of is the consistency of our basketball program over the years. We averaged nearly 20 wins a season for 43 years.

I say this is a highlight because of the incredible combination of quality young men, talented assistant coaches, and support from students, administrators and the community for over four decades of excellence.”

A graduate of Spring Valley High School, Whipple began as an assistant coach at Lexington High School and then a junior varsity coach at Winnsboro.

After two seasons as JV coach at Irmo, Whipple was promoted to the top position for the 1981-82 season.

The rest is history.

Whipple won his first Class 4A title in 1991. After going back-to-back in 1993 and 1994, Whipple led Irmo back to the championship in 2011 and 2013.

The latter team went 29-0, finished ranked 13th nationally and were led by guard Detrek Browning.

Whipple calls Browning ‘one of the most underrated players I ever coached’.

“He certainly was not underrated by his coaches, teammates and classmates at Irmo,” he said. “But, he didn’t get a lot of love from college recruiters. Many college coaches missed out on him. He went on to be a superstar at Francis Marion University. He is their all-time leading scorer and his jersey number was retired. He is now playing professionally overseas.”

When asked who was the best player he ever coached against, the first name Whipple mentions is NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen.

“He was impossible to stop,” Whipple said. “He was just an incredible talent. A close second would be L.J. Peak who played at Gaffney High School.”

Irmo won it’s final title under Whipple during the 2022-23 season. The return of Class 4A Player of the Year Brandon Crawford from illness sparked a winning streak that carried the team into the postseason and the title.

Coming off a challenging season in which Irmo had to replace several starters, Whipple has no regrets about leaving now.

“I am very content to end my coaching career where I stand,” Whipple said. “After all, if it was an issue for me I guess I could have kept coaching. I think to keep coaching to just accumulate wins would be selfish and petty. I am extremely grateful to have been at a very special school that afforded me the opportunity to achieve success on and off the basketball court.”

Since the announcement, Whipple said he’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from former players, assistant coaches and even rival head coaches.

Photos by GoFlashWin.com

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