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LMC in the News

Small college notebook: Chris Shipe is boosting the fortunes of Los Medanos College football program

By Matt Schwab Contra Costa Times Posted: 10/04/2010 07:41:01 PM PDT Updated: 10/04/2010 10:37:05 PM PDT

Los Medanos College football coach Chris Shipe is the one who got it done.

Nineteen years ago, Shipe, as a junior quarterback, led Pittsburg High to a 35-27 upset win over De La Salle in the 1991 North Coast Section 3A championship, snapping the Spartans' then 34-game win streak.

It was the stuff of local legends, but Shipe's football journey was just beginning.

After his senior season at Pittsburg, Shipe starred at quarterback at Los Medanos and Humboldt State.

He later became Humboldt State's wide receivers coach for three years and LMC's offensive coordinator from 2002-2009.

Shipe, 36, became the LMC head coach after longtime coach Van Boschetti retired last summer.

Now the Mustangs (2-2) are on a two-game winning streak. After opening the season with back-to-back losses, they broke into the win column with a 25-17 triumph over Contra Costa on Sept. 25 -- Shipe's first career victory as a head coach. They followed with a 34-20 win over Hartnell on Saturday.

"He's a good guy," LMC sophomore receiver Alex Rachal said of Shipe. "He likes to run a little bit, pass a little bit. It's been a good transition (from Boschetti's regime)."

Rachal, a Heritage High graduate who was born the year Pittsburg upset De La Salle, said Shipe doesn't talk much about his glory days but will share stories if asked about the memorable game.

Shipe's family connections at Pittsburg run deep. His uncle, Jim Shipe, is the Pirates' varsity defensive coordinator. Chris' cousin, Anthony, was a linebacker/guard on that 1991 Pittsburg squad.

Ten former Pirates are on LMC's 2010 roster, including sophomore quarterback Juan Corral.

"I think he's putting together a good thing over there," said Pittsburg coach Victor Galli, who didn't coach Shipe but recalls him as a cool customer under center.

A self-described perfectionist, Shipe will push his players to improve, or "coach 'em up," he says. He welcomes the new responsibilities that come with his new title.

"It's a lot of hard work, but the reason I'm in this business is because I enjoy it," he said. "I'm enjoying now working with the administration on campus, working with the staff on a daily basis and definitely being able to improve young men on a daily basis."

The quarterbacks probably should listen up.

In addition to his heroics at Pittsburg -- Shipe was brilliant in the upset of De La Salle -- he was conference player of the year and team MVP at Humboldt State in 1995. As an LMC sophomore, Shipe threw for 500 yards against the UC Davis junior varsity, he recalls.

Shipe sees promise on the LMC roster and praises the play of receivers Jermaine Sims (Pittsburg) and Rachal, outside linebacker Mike Mann (Freedom) and defensive back Brandon Jimenez of Lakes High-Lakewood (Wash.).

He says memories of the 1991 upset come rushing back whenever someone reminds him of the game. But he's living firmly in the present.

"This is a position I've been dreaming about for a very long time," Shipe said. "I knew I wasn't going to play my whole life. I needed to take the next step for my career. I enjoy all sports, but football is my main one."

Contact Matt Schwab at mscwab@bayareanewsgroup.com.