“Ace” is the name that he most answers to but his full name is Averill Pippens.
However, he is recognized by numerous other titles. Son, dad, brother, coach…Now that includes football coach Ace, basketball coach Ace, baseball coach Ace, and AAU Coach Ace…well, you get my point.
But let’s start at the beginning. An Oliver High School grad and star triple-threat athlete in football, basketball and baseball he was a star in track too, but it sounds so much cooler when you say triple-threat. Pippens was named to the All-City Baseball Team, Kenny Durrett High School All-Star Basketball Classic and received the Distinguished Athlete of the Year award from the U.S. Marine Corps., among many other awards.
Since that time, nothing has slowed down for Coach Ace. Among his other achievements: J.V. football head coach at Oliver, defensive coordinator for Oliver, 17 and under boys “Rise High” A.A.U. basketball coach, assistant men’s basketball coach at Penn State McKeesport and head basketball coach—Penn State McKeesport.
Yeah, I know. But we ain’t done yet. Get this, a Robert Morris grad with a degree in sports management and an MBA from U. of Phoenix. Couple that with being the ultimate family man, raising his son Dante (who by the way thinks he and the boys can beat me and my boys in a hoop game. “Man, you better ask somebody.” My Boys are B.B. Flenory, Armon “The Hammer” Gilliam and Myron Brown. Yup, the same Myron Brown that used to share air space with Michael Jordan …“If you don’t know…now you know!”
Anyway, back to Coach Ace, “my bad.” Aside from running his own business and partnership with Art Cammack, A&A Electronics in Monroeville Mall, Ace is assistant coach with coach Andre King and the “Rise High” basketball team, Connie Hawkins Summer Basketball League Champions and three-time winners.
After all Coach Ace has achieved, he may now be heading up his biggest challenge. He was recently promoted to vice president of Five Starr Corp., a newly established business, social and athletic company, and taken on the additional position as director of the Champions Association/Kenny Durrett Memorial High School All-Star Basketball Classic for 2010. The Classic is the longest running high school all-star game in western Pennsylvania and provides advanced basketball opportunities for more than 300 grade school, middle school and high school boys and girls.
As the new mastermind and director, Pippens is in a position to help move as many as 10 to 15 student-athletes to the next level to go to college and continue their careers.
To know Coach Ace is to know a man of strong convictions. A man that does what he says he’s going to do. A commitment to excellence matched by an old school mind, body and soul. A do-whatever-it-takes attitude that speaks to his years of hard work and achievement. There is no doubt as to how he has become the success that he is.
For those of you who know Averill Pippens, you already know the man and what he’s capable of. For those of you just getting introduced to Coach Ace, get ready for the next generation of leadership that will help lead our youth in the right direction and prepare them for all they need to know to be the best they can be. Oh…did I mention Coach Ace was shot by an intruder in 1994 and that he’s been in a wheelchair since then? No need!
(Editor’s Note: Don’t miss the 35th Annual Kenny Durrett Memorial High School All-Star Basketball Classic May 1 at Valley High School in New Kensington. For more information call 412-607-3697.)