Former Missouri Southern softball coach Dr. Pat Lipira will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on April 24 as part of the organization’s Women in Sports Luncheon. The event will take place in the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Oasis Convention Center in Springfield and is being sponsored by the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation.
Lipira is the winningest coach in Missouri Southern State University history (total wins across all sports). She coached the Lions’ softball team from 1982-2000 and the volleyball team from 1981-1987. She has a 632-275 (.697) overall record as a softball coach, but compiled a 439-162 (.730) mark while the Lions were members of the MIAA. In her 12 seasons as a softball coach in the MIAA, Lipira guided the Lions to six Regional Championship appearances, two Regional Championships, four MIAA Championships and an NCAA National Championship in 1992.
A five-time MIAA Coach of the Year and two-time Regional Coach of the Year, she was the National Coach of the Year in 1992. She ranks 18th all-time in NCAA history for winning percentage (.697) and her 632 wins rank 29th all-time in NCAA history. While the volleyball coach at Southern, Lipira racked up 265 wins, the second-most in school history in a short seven seasons.
A breast-cancer survivor, Lipira helped spearhead the MSSU women’s basketball Pink-Night initiative that was started in 2007 and has helped the MSSU Athletic Department raise money each year for breast cancer research. She continues to donate countless hours outside of that effort to help breast cancer research. Since retirement from the field, Lipira has served as the chair of the Kinesiology Department at Missouri Southern and is now the Vice President of Academic Affairs at the university.
She joins former coaches Warren Turner (baseball), Tom Rutledge (track and field/cross country) and former All-American football player Rod Smith as Missouri Southern representatives in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Lipira will be inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside former Washington University volleyball coach Teri Clemens and sports journalist Mechelle Voepel. Longtime Missouri State coach and administrator Dr. Mary Jo Wynn will also be named the first female Missouri Sports Legend as part of the ceremony.
The 11:00 a.m. luncheon and ceremony is presented by the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame at 417-889-3100.