Longtime Eastwood High School basketball coach, Gary Pippen, has announced his retirement.
Ysleta ISD sent a press release regarding the retirement late Wednesday.
Pippen, who had had a 52-year teaching career, was part of the coaching staff when the Troopers won a state basketball title in 1976, and has led the Troopers since 1993.
A Bel Air High School graduate, Pippen earned his bachelor’s degree from Willamette State University in Oregon, where he played basketball. He also earned a master’s degree from UTEP, and began his teaching career in 1966 at East Point Elementary School as a P.E. coach. In 1967, then-Eastwood High School head coach Bobby Lesley recruited him as a junior varsity coach. Pippen served a brief stint in the U.S. Army, then returned to his job at Eastwood High School. Coach Lesley retired in 1993 and Pippen took over the helm, also serving as government teacher.
Pippen said the basketball program has turned out many El Paso coaches, including Rob Dibler (Bel Air HS), Daniel Martinez (Bowie HS), and Jimmy Moreno (Clint HS). He credits his fellow coaches Richard Castro, Hector Avila, and Porfirio Zamora for supporting him throughout the years.
“It was a privilege to work under former head basketball coach Bobby Lesley,” said Pippen. “After Lesley retired, my goal was to keep the basketball program competitive.” Lastly, he says he always tried to put the team above anything else. “It been a pleasure and honor to coach some really good kids.”
He said he will spend retirement traveling with his wife Pam, who he met at Eastwood High School, as well as watching the Troopers from the stands of the new gymnasium. A viable candidate to succeed Pippen will be selected in the near future.