“Coach P” Calls It a Career

After 42 years, Rex Pippenger is walking away from football in the same town that was responsible for his love of the game.

The 18-year Kansas Wesleyan assistant coach is retiring from coaching following the game on Saturday at Ottawa University.

“Coach P” grew up just three blocks from Peoples Bank Field, home to the Braves. At Ottawa High School, he was known for teaming up with Steve Grogan, who went on to throw for 2,214 yards and 12 touchdowns as the starting quarterback for the Kansas State Wildcats. Later, Grogan would play for 16 seasons in the NFL for the New England Patriots.

Pippenger attended K-State as well in hopes of being a park ranger, but decided to transfer to Baker University where he played three years at right guard. In his final collegiate game, coach P played in the “Toilet Bowl”, a contest that featured Baker and Ottawa, both with poor records. Pippenger took down the same team he grew up watching.

Before his time as a Coyote, coach P spent 24 years as a coach in many sports at various places. Pippenger started his career at Colby, followed by a four-year stint at Pomona. The next stop was in Baldwin, where he met his wife Kathy and married her in 1981.

Coach P’s longest stay was in Pleasanton, a town that dedicated a day as “Pippenger Day” last year. Pippenger was there for 10 years before spending his remaining high school years as head football coach at Clay Center. He coached one state champion in football and four state throws champions in track and field.

In 2000, coach P ended up at Kansas Wesleyan, serving as a volunteer assistant. It wasn’t until 2009 when he was promoted to offensive line coach. During his time at KWU, Pippenger coached 19 All-KCAC selections, including eight first team honorees.

Rex Pippenger gets some love from his players following his final practice.