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Former Pitt coach Chipman dies of cancer

August 12, 1997

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Roy Chipman, who took the Pitt Panthers into Big East basketball and built a 102-76 record in six seasons as coach, has died of cancer. He was 58.

Chipman died Sunday at his home in suburban Pittsburgh after battling liver and colon cancer for about a year. He was Pitt’s 10th basketball coach, succeeding Tim Grgurich before the 1980-81 season. Chipman was replaced by Paul Evans in 1986.

Chipman’s best year was 1981-82, when the Panthers went 20-10 before losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He took Pitt to the quarterfinals of the NIT in 1984.

Chipman, a former Maine high school coach, previously coached at Lafayette and Hartwick. In his first year at Pitt in 1980-81, attendance increased 38.7 percent, and the Panthers joined the Big East a year later.

The Panthers upset Syracuse, Georgetown and St. John’s _ all Associated Press Top 20 teams _ under Chipman in 1983.

He recruited Curtis Aiken, Jerome Lane, Demetreus Gore and one of Pitt’s best players ever, Charles Smith. But Chipman was criticized because several players left the university on his watch.

He left coaching for private business following Pitt’s 15-14 mark in 1985-86, including a 6-11 record in the Big East.

After Chipman left, he was praised for the solid foundation he left for Evans, who took Pitt to the NCAA Tournament in four of his first five years.

``Roy was a class act as a coach and a person and a great friend of the Pittsburgh program,″ current coach Ralph Willard said. ``From the day I came to Pittsburgh, he was always there to extend his help and encouragement.″

Chipman is survived by his wife, Kathi, five children and four grandchildren.

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