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Longtime Professor Honored for Athletic FeatsThose who sat in Dr. Mike Gipson’s biology classes at Oklahoma Christian will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek humor he used in explaining how he set the university’s career scoring record for men’s basketball during the 1960s.
“I shot a lot,” Gipson said. “When I was a sophomore, we were playing at Midwestern State early in the season and (then-coach Haskell) Sinclair said to me, ‘Gipson, you set a school record tonight.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘For shots attempted.’ I had shot 28 times. So I shot a lot.”
A lot of those shots went in, so many that Gipson, who played from 1962 to 1966, finished his career with 1,472 points – which was the school record until Dwayne Williams broke it in 1980.
Gipson also was a top baseball player in the early days of Oklahoma Christian athletics before going on to a long career as an OC professor.
The 6-foot-6 Gipson, who was one of the six inductees into the OC Athletic Hall of Fame this year, was one of the foundation student-athletes upon which then-athletic director Ray Vaughn helped build the fledgling athletic program at OC.
Gipson earned a starting spot as a freshman for the 1962-63 team that finished 17-5, then averaged 22.5 points per game as a sophomore, 22.5 as a junior and 20.6 as a senior. Only four OC players have had higher single-season scoring averages than Gipson, and two of those – Jay Mauck (00) and Jarred Merrill (10) – were NAIA players of the year.
“We had to run a lot of plays for Mike because he could score,” said Frank Davis (63), who both played with and coached Gipson at Oklahoma Christian. “He was our threat. He was a hard worker and a good shooter and a good rebounder. You couldn’t find an area he wasn’t good at.”
Gipson’s point total still ranks No. 20 on OC’s career list – 47 years after his playing days ended. That’s particularly impressive considering all the changes college basketball has seen during that time – longer seasons, the addition of the shot clock to speed up the game and the implementation of the 3-point line, rewarding the outside shot.
“There’s no telling how many points he would have scored if he had played more games and if those rules had been in place then,” Davis said. “He was plenty good – no doubt about it.”
Gipson also pitched and played shortstop and centerfield for the OC baseball team. Most baseball records from that era have been lost to time, but Davis said Gipson might have been the Eagles’ best at that sport, too.
Gipson returned to his alma mater in 1970 as a professor of biology, spending nearly 40 years on the faculty before retiring in 2009. He and his wife, Peggy (McDonald 66), also a retired OC professor, still live in Edmond.
“To teach these bright students that would go on and do great things … it was a wonderful way to lead your work life,” Gipson said at the Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner. “If I have made a contribution to the school, let’s remember that the school invested in me first. The Bible talks about people who drink from wells they did not dig. That’s been my life; I’ve been drinking from wells that I didn’t dig. I’ve had a big long drink tonight and, let me tell you, it’s been really refreshing.
By Murray Evans (89)