LINDSBORG — Former Bethany College men’s basketball standout Erik Shupe is returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach.
Shupe today was named as coach Clair Oleen’s top assistant, as Denver Cobb has resigned to become an assistant coach at Rocky Mountain College.
"Erik has a deep sense of commitment, loyalty and pride in Bethany basketball and he has a great love for Bethany College," Oleen said. "Erik was one of the toughest and hardest-working players to ever come through our basketball program and he was very instrumental in our rise to national prominence, both as a player-captain and later as a student-assistant coach.
He will be filling some big shoes as Cobb had gained the reputation around the KCAC as one of its top recruiters.
“We appreciate the work that coach Cobb has done for Bethany basketball over the past three years,” Oleen said.
Shupe played for the Swedes from 1995-1998, starting for three years and serving as a team captain. He was also a two-time Academic All-American.
Shupe taught and coached at West Elk High School for a year before moving to Salina South High School for a year. He then held a teaching and coaching position at Minneapolis Junior and Senior High School from 2002-2013.
"Coach Shupe has had a very impressive coaching record with many state tournament appearances at his high school alma mater, Minneapolis High School,” Oleen said. “He has earned respect as one of the top young high school basketball coaches in the state of Kansas, and he has developed a reputation as a tremendous defensive coach, whose teams play hard because he develops great rapport with his players."
Shupe was the assistant boys basketball coach from 2003-2006, where he helped guide the Lions to three consecutive state tournaments. He took over the head job in 2007 and coached until 2014. He took Minneapolis to the Class 3A state championship game in 2010 and in 2011. In his seven seasons as head coach, Shupe had 11 players earn All-State recognition.
"I think that it speaks volumes for Bethany basketball and for this great institution when one of your own wants to come back to teach and coach at Bethany College,” Oleen said. “It was 36 years ago that I came back to Bethany to assist my mentor, George Stephens. Bethany College was a great institution then and it is an even better institution now.”
Shupe has been the co-owner of the Messenger Companies since 2013. He is the editor of The Minneapolis Messenger, which is the weekly newspaper for Ottawa County. He is the Operations Manager for the Messenger Publishing and Messenger Clothing Companies.
Shupe resides in Minneapolis with his wife Londa and his daughters Lindsay, Carlie, Zoie and Maggie.