After completing a four-year rebuild that pushed the Lady Pioneers back toward the top of the state rankings, Anthony Lippe has decided to step down as WCHS girls basketball coach. Lippe announced it to his team Monday morning, shocking the Lady Pioneer community after an incredible run of success the last two seasons.
Lippe, 34, inherited a roster devoid of any returning starters in 2019-20 and struggled to two wins in his first year, but Warren County quickly rebounded under his guidance. The Lady Pioneers won 12 games in 2020-21, then took a huge step last year by winning 24 games and making it to the region semifinals for the first time since the 1970s.
This season, Warren County reached an even higher level. The Lady Pioneers won a share of the District 6-4A championship – the first title for the program since 1979 - while ascending into the top 10 of state ranking and piling up 23 victories. Lippe’s final game was a tough 62-53 loss to Bradley Central in the region semifinals, one of the closest games the Bearettes would play in the postseason on their way to a state title.
Lippe, who was 61-57 overall in his four seasons, decided it was time to turn his focus on his family, which includes three daughters under the age of 9.
“Family has taken a backseat for a long time and I’m ready to focus on being a dad. I want to be able to be with my kids, be at their games,” said Lippe. “I’m not afraid of the work, but when you leave in the morning and your kids are asleep and you get home and your kids are asleep, it bothered me.
“I’m not going to say I won’t regret it, but I don’t believe I’m making the wrong decision. You can’t go wrong when you’re making a decision for your family.”
Lippe’s coaching career in Warren County dates back much longer than his four-year tenure with the Lady Pioneers. He got his start locally at WCMS coaching the sixth-grade boys basketball team in 2011-12. Over the last decade, he made his mark with the Lady Pioneers, first as an assistant and then as the leader of the resurgent program over the last four years.
Warren County was considered one of the top 4A programs this season and proved its mettle with wins over fellow top-10 programs Coffee County (snapping a 15-game losing streak), White County and Stewarts Creek. While Lippe had his fair share of memorable wins, none were what he wanted to take from his time guiding the team.
Instead, Lippe was immediately reminiscent of the program building that went on behind the scenes.
“It’s the things that are not stat-related,” Lippe said when asked about his favorite memories. “It’s teaching the kids how to be accountable, how to be a great teammate, how to work with other people and put others before yourself.
“The stats didn’t matter. It was just about putting a product on the floor where the girls played extremely hard and gave our fans and alumni a team that they could be proud of night-in and night-out.”
The search for Lippe’s replacement started Monday when Warren County posted the job on its school website. Finding a leader for the Lady Pioneers will likely be a priority in April as tryouts are traditionally held in May and team camps begin in June.