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Ron Schipper: A Football Legend

Coach Ron Schipper led Central College to a Division III National Championship in 1974. Courtesy of College Football Hall of Fame.
College Football Hall of Fame
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
In the world of college football, he was a pretty big deal. He was one of the most successful coaches who ever lived. He had a record 36 consecutive winning seasons. The minute he retired, he went straight into the College Football Hall Of Fame.

You've never heard of him because he was a small college coach. NCAA Division III, where there are no scholarships, no slush funds and no scandals. He was a legend in that world.

Ron Schipper was his name, and he was my coach. He died suddenly of a heart attack Sunday night, and I've been thinking about him ever since.

I was a pretty good jock in high school and was recruited to play football at schools many times the size of Central College in Iowa. But Central had Schipper. And I chose him.

He was tough and old-fashioned. Schipper knew more about football than just about any coach in the country, but here was the difference: He loved us, his players, unconditionally. I'm convinced that's why we won.


Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith