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Legendary Cajuns’ Coach passes away

courtesy athleticnetwork.net

Some very sad news in the Cajuns’ family today. 

Legendary Basketball Coach Beryl Shipley passed away last night after a fight with cancer.

Shipley was the men’s basketball coach during the “glory years” of USL basketball, leading the Cajuns to a national ranking and two appearances in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Shipley’s teams also excelled in the NAIA and NCAA College Divisions before moving up to the highest competition level in the 1971-72 season.

Shipley was also a pioneer in men’s basketball in the South, becoming the first coach in Louisiana to recruit and sign African-American players.  His stance was a source of resentment among many schools in the South and resulted in the program being put on probation in the ’60′s after Shipley was ordered to conduct an illegal practice and then was turned in for the violation.  The story is chronicled in the book “Slam Dunked,” by Shipley and longtime broadcaster Ron Gomez.

Shipley is still the winningest coach in Cajuns’ basketball history.

A memorial service is planned for noon Friday at First Baptist Church in Lafayette.  Visitation will be held on Friday from 9am until the time of service.

More information as it becomes available at www.athleticnetwork.net.

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