The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 14, 2014

Our View: Hats off to Lipira

— Our congratulations to former Lions women’s coach Pat Lipira, who will be honored this spring with an induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

She is Missouri Southern’s winningest coach, amassing 897 victories during her coaching career. She coached the MSSU volleyball team from 1981 to 1987, and the softball team from 1982 to 2000.

She also was the head of MSSU’s Kinesiology Department, and she emerged victorious from a battle with breast cancer after she was diagnosed in 2007.

Now, Lipira brings her game to the university as its interim vice president of academic affairs.

She says her philosophy of success has served as her foundation in all the things she has accomplished.

“As a coach, I wanted girls to play the game because it was fun. It would break my heart to see a coach take the passion out of the game,” Lipira told the Globe.

“But, even while keeping the element of fun in the game, I also wanted to win. By the end of my coaching career I learned that when you’re having fun, you win, and when you win, well, you’re having fun,” she said.

In the classroom, Lipira was known as a passionate and animated teacher. And though she says there was little humor in being diagnosed with breast cancer, she said she found ways to smile.

“I had to pick out a wig, so I tried to make it fun, and I laughed at myself when the wind blew it off my head,” she said.

Whether Lipira was winning a ballgame or completing a competency test in class, she used teamwork.

Today, she says she is still pulling for her team of faculty and advisers.

On April 24, she will be honored at the hall of fame’s Women in Sports Luncheon in Springfield.

Hats off to Lipira and her winning attitude.

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