Central, S.C. – Southern Wesleyan University's men's basketball coach Charles Wimphrie has announced that the 2017-18 season will be his last season heading up the men's basketball program. This will end 30 plus seasons seeing Coach Wimphrie as a head coach of an athletic program at SWU. Wimphrie headed up the women's basketball team, before transitioning to the head coach of the men's program.
"Coach Wimphrie is a legend at SWU," said Dr. Joe Brockinton, Vice President of Student Life at Southern Wesleyan. "He came here as a student and made his mark as an outstanding basketball player. However, his greatest legacy at SWU has been his 31 years of service in which he has deeply invested in the transformation of young men who have played for him. I believe that Coach Wimphrie's influence has left an indelible mark for good and for God in the lives of his players that will only be fully known in eternity."
Wimphrie started his coaching career in 1986 as the assistant women's basketball coach. He then transitioned to the head coaching job in 1991. In 1993, Wimphrie transitioned to the position of head men's basketball coach where he has remained. Wimphrie will go into the 2017-2018 season with a 381-430 career record as a Southern Wesleyan coach, the most wins by any men's basketball coach.
"There are those who have an influence, those that have an impact, and then those, the very elite, that create a movement," said Southern Wesleyan president Dr. Todd Voss on Coach Wimphrie. "Charles Wimphrie is the later. Charles has devoted his career to the endeavor of changing lives using the tool of basketball and we will be forever grateful. Charles thinks in the timeframe of the eternal, and we will see his work go on and on. We owe a debt of gratitude to this wonderful leader."
During his first two years as the head coach, he guided the team to back-to-back 20 win seasons. His 1999 team went on to reach the semifinals of the Georgia Alabama Carolina Conference (the precursor to the Southern States Athletic Conference). The team would go on to win the NCCAA Regional and advance to the NCCAA National Tournament. Under his leadership, the Warriors would set a school record of 26 over the course of the season. Southern Wesleyan has seen several National Tournament appearances under Coach Wimphrie's guidance.
Several players coached by Wimphrie have gone on to play professionally overseas. He has also had many players named SSAC Newcomer of the Year, SSAC All-Conference, NAIA All-American Honorable Mention, NCCAA All-American Honorable Mention, SSAC All-Freshman and SSAC All-East Division honors.
"I have nothing but appreciation and gratitude to Southern Wesleyan University," said Coach Charles Wimphrie. "I would like to thank Dean of Students Dr. Don Wood and Athletic Director Dr. Keith Connor for this tremendous opportunity. Dr. Wood hired me in 1986 as Resident Director and Assistant Men's Basketball Coach when I was only 27 years old. Dr. Connor hired me as Head Women's Coach in 1990 and elevated me to the Head Men's Basketball Coach in 1993. Only a small number of coaches in college basketball get the chance to coach 31 years at the same institution. I have had the most remarkable tenure at Southern Wesleyan University, but I decided that the time was right to pass the torch. I love coaching and building relationships with the student athletes under my guidance, but I am looking forward to starting the next chapter in my life."
Charles Wimphrie was no stranger to the basketball court, beginning his career at Laurens High School in Laurens, S.C. He would go on to average 20 points per game and 15.5 rebounds per game. Upon his graduation, he received an athletic scholarship to play ball at The Citadel. Wimphrie began his career at Southern Wesleyan as a transfer basketball player where some of his records stand to this day. He played from SWU from 1979 to 1981.
In 1981, Wimphrie was fifth in the country with 27.5 points per game and he still holds the SWU single season scoring record of 781 points. He held the single-game scoring record at 47 until 2010 when one of his players topped the mark by one, scoring 48 points in a single game. Wimphrie was inducted into the SWU Hall of Fame in 2005 in the inaugural class.
"Coach Wimphrie came to SWU as a basketball player and later made the jump into coaching," said Director of Athletics Chris Williams. "He has coached in such a way that leaves a positive ripple effect in the lives of hundreds of basketball players, students, faculty and staff alike. He has won many games and he has won championships but what Coach is most known for is that he has guided people to Christ – winning souls for the Kingdom. He is now considered by many as a SWU super star! Well done Coach!"
Wimphrie will retire at the conclusion of the 2017-2018 season to give him a total of 31 years of commitment to Southern Wesleyan University. Coach Charles Wimphrie will be honored at Southern Wesleyan's February 23 home game versus the North Greenville University Crusaders.