History was made Wednesday in Newberry as Irmo boys basketball coach Tim Whipple earned career victory 700.
The Yellow Jackets beat Newberry 65-32 to improve to 3-1 on the season, and give their coach the milestone victory.
“We knew it would be number 700 if we won,” junior Winston Hill said. “(Coach) doesn’t talk much about it, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure on us.”
Whipple called the victory a special moment.
“It’s something that you should be able to enjoy,” Whipple said. “Unfortunately, I’m not the type of person who enjoys those kinds of things. I’m extremely excited, although I’m not acting like it, because I see how work we have to do.”
The celebration was almost put on hold as Newberry came out determined to play well, despite missing a number of players because of football. The Bulldogs led by five midway through the second quarter, and trailed by three at the half.
After halftime, Irmo turned up the intensity and was able to run away, holding Newberry to 11 points in the second half.
“Playing for (Coach) Whipple is great,” Hill said. “We’re constantly learning, and he demands excellence from his players. He got into us at halftime.”
When asked what Whipple told his team, Hill smiled and declined to comment.
With the win, Whipple becomes the fourth coach in state history to reach the number. He trails Taft Watson (742), Earl Brown and John Smith (943). The win comes four years to the day he won his 600th game. That 2012-13 team went on to win a state championship.
“As much as people want to make this out to be about me, it’s all about the kids that have come through the Irmo program,” Whipple said. “Without their efforts it doesn’t matter what I do.”
Whipple has been the coach at Irmo since 1981. He has won five state championships and appeared in nine state title games overall. He credits his ability to evolve as the key to his longevity.
“In the early days, we didn’t have the athletes, so we had to play a more structured game and execute,” Whipple said. “The last five years I’ve had some talented players. From day one, I’ve tried to find the best things my players do, and give them an opportunity to be successful doing that. The framework is the same, but they have had more freedom to use their abilities.”
Irmo 65, Newberry 32
I: Winston Hill 15, Shyheem Edwards 11, Young 8, Jenkins 7, Henryhand 6, Heath 6, Caldwell 4, Dorrah 3, Council 3, Flowers 2.