FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 19, 2007
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Kippy Todd, 615-898-5756.
MTSU ALUM ENDOWS SCHOLARSHIP FOR RUTHERFORD COUNTIANS
Former Blue Raider Player, College and Pro Coach Ken Shipp Donates $50,000
(MURFREESBORO) – A dedicated MTSU alumnus and inductee of the Kennon Hall of Fame has donated $50,000 to his alma mater so that a worthy graduate of a Rutherford County high school can fulfill the dream of a college education.
The Ken Shipp Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to a full-time student who is working toward a degree, in good standing with the university, and eligible to receive need-based financial aid. The scholarship will be renewable for a maximum of 10 semesters provided the recipient meets the university’s requirements for continuation.
“Coach Shipp’s generous donation is a true example of the MTSU tradition,” Joe Bales, Vice President for Development and University Relations, says. “Need-based scholarships such as this one have provided thousands of people who otherwise never could have come to college a precious opportunity to improve their lives.”
Shipp, an Old Hickory native who graduated from MTSU in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, played football for the legendary Charles “Bubber” Murphy. His first college coaching jobs were at Trinity University and Florida State University.
Future pros Jerry Rhome and Howard Twilley were recruited and coached by Shipp at the University of Tulsa, as were numerous pros who were trained by Shipp at the University of South Carolina and the University of Miami.
Shipp’s professional resume includes stints with the St. Louis Cardinals and New Orleans Saints. He is credited with signing Ole Miss’ Archie Manning for the Saints.
After Charlie Winner was dismissed as the head coach of the New York Jets nine games into the 1975 season, Shipp, who had been the receivers coach, took over. He immediately gained attention for benching superstar quarterback Joe Namath for a violation of team rules, something observers said should have happened much sooner for Namath’s own good and the good of the team.
In a July 11, 2002 column for SI.com, Paul Zimmerman wrote of Shipp, “‘Mistakes are killing us’ was his standard litany. We'd be coming off the buffet line and I'd trip and spill a plate of spaghetti all over myself and I'd hear Kenny murmuring under his breath, ‘Mistakes are killing us.’”
Shipp’s advice for the future recipients of his financial generosity is equally down-to-earth.
“You got to get on the books and work hard toward getting good grades,” Shipp says. “A lot of them don’t do that, and they’re hurting themselves. You’ve to put that time toward studying.”
Shipp also worked with lawmakers to lobby for passage of the Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act, or SPARTA. This measure, which became federal law in 2004, is designed to protect young student-athletes from unfair and deceptive practices by sports agents.
While Shipp’s career has been spent largely in athletics, the scholarship he is endowing is not an athletic one. It is a need-based scholarship for Rutherford County students.
For more information, contact Kippy Todd, Assistant Director for Annual Giving, in the Division of Development and University Relations at 615-898-5756.
ATTENTION, MEDIA: For a color jpeg photo of MTSU Development Office Director Kirk Purdom accepting a check from Coach Ken Shipp, contact Kippy Todd in the Division of Development and University Relations at 615-898-5756.