Central, S.C. - At the end of the 2017-'18 season, Southern Wesleyan University Head Men's Basketball Coach Charles Wimphrie will retire after more than 30 seasons of coaching a Warrior athletic program.
Coaching for Wimphrie has been about a commitment to the transformation of the student-athletes who have played for him. A successful basketball program in Southern Wesleyan's faith-filled community means more than practicing and studying game videos. To prepare his team, Wimphrie also leads his team in prayer and conducts a regular Bible study.
On August 3rd, plans were revealed to name the basketball court at Tysinger Gymnasium to recognize his years of coaching and mentoring. On hand to applaud Wimphrie were his wife Sandra, University President Dr. Todd Voss, Athletic Director Chris Williams, Vice President for Advancement Dr. Lisa McWherter, Vice President for Student Life Dr. Joe Brockinton and Associate Athletic Director and Head Women's Volleyball Coach Julia Reininga.
"Charles has devoted his career to the endeavor of changing lives using the tool of basketball and we will be forever grateful," Voss said. "I know where most colleges are on athletics for the most part – it's about wins, it's about postseason, it's about regionals, nationals, key players making it big. For Charles, it's been about building character in each players heart."
Reininga remembered how as the new volleyball coach at Southern Wesleyan, she was nervous about asking Wimphrie about sharing court space for practices. She was pleasantly surprised when he responded, "We'll work around you."
Wimphrie began his coaching career in 1986 as the assistant women's basketball coach, then in 1993 he began coaching men's basketball. During his first two years as head men's basketball coach, Wimphrie guided the team to back-to-back 20 win seasons and ultimately National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) regional and national tournament appearances.
"Coach Wimphrie has influenced hundreds of students here at SWU and all throughout the Upstate through his summer basketball camps," Williams said. "Charles has used the sport of basketball to share the Word of God and grow the Kingdom. We are so proud of coach and know that his story doesn't end here. We are proud to have coach's name on the Historic Tysinger court."
As a young player at Laurens High School, Wimphrie averaged 20 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. He then received a scholarship to play for the Citadel and transferred to Southern Wesleyan, where some of his records from 1979-'81 still stand.
"A coach's legacy is defined by how hard he works toward certain goals and, at the end of the day, to see his name on the playing surface is an honor only a few receive," Wimphrie said.
Wimphrie will also be recognized at the Warriors' home opener against Bob Jones, starting at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 and he will again be honored Feb. 23 during the last home game.
"I love coaching and building relationships with the student-athletes under my guidance, but I am looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life," said Wimphrie of his upcoming retirement.
- article by Ed Welch