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AFM Magazine

Legends of the Hall

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With 119 chapters and over 12,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in today’s young people. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, the NFF Center for Youth Development Through Sport at Springfield College, the NFL/NFF Coaching Academy, and annual scholarships of nearly $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. Each month American Football Monthly will profile a member of the College Football Hall of Fame – our June subject is former Central College Coach Ron Schipper.

1928: Born in Zeeland, MI

1946-48: Served in U. S. Army

1952: Graduates from Hope College

1952-1960: Michigan High School Coach

1961: Becomes Central College’s head coach

1964: Becomes Athletics Director

1967: First Unbeaten Season

1969-70: Future Dolphin Vern Den Herder an All-American at Central

1974: Wins NCAA Division III National Championship

1983: Start of 36 Game Regular Season Winning Streak

1984 and 1988: Runner-Up for NCAA Division III Championship

1994: Receives Distinguished Alumnus Award from Hope College

2004: Receives Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from the AFCA

2000: Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame

2004: Receives Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from the AFCA

Consider the following resume of legendary coach Ron Schipper, the head man at Central College in Pella, Iowa for 36 years:
• Had an overall record of 287-67-3 (.808%)
• Finished first or second in the Iowa Intercollegiate Conference 29
of his 36 years
• Captured 18 Conference and one NCAA Championship
• Recorded 10 undefeated regular seasons
• Had a 36 game regular season winning streak (1983-1987)
• Coached in an NCAA record of 27 playoff games
• Graduated 99% of players during that 36-year period

A legend in Division III football, Ron Schipper retired after the 1996 season having won more games than all but two active coaches. A native of Zeeland, Michigan, Schipper played quarterback for Hope College from 1948-1951 after serving in the U.S.Army.

He began his coaching career in Michigan on the high school level compiling a 33-9-2 record. He then became head coach at Central College and the birth of a legend began. From 1961-1996 he roamed the Central sidelines winning 81% of games played. Among the notables he coached were College Football Hall of Famer Vern Den Herder, an All-American defensive end who later had a 13-year career in the NFL and CBS news’ Harry Smith, a three year letterman at Central.

He continued coaching even after his retirement from Central. For seven years (1997-2003) Schipper was head coach of the American All-Stars in the Aztec Bowl, a post-season event held in Mexico City that includes an AFCA Division III team playing Mexico’s top players. Schipper is also known for his international work, having staged numerous clinics throughout the world.

An outstanding defensive mind, Schipper’s teams allowed 10 or fewer points 208 times during his tenure as coach. Central All-American Mark Kacmarynski had this to say about his coach: “I’m sure he knows the game of football better than almost anybody else, but that's not what makes him a great coach. It's his concern for his players and how he takes care of us.”

Schipper was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2000 and received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from the AFCA in 2004 for ... “services that have been outstanding in the advancements of the best interests of college football.”

To find out more about how to become a member or for more information about The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame visit or call 1-800-486-1865.


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