They say a nut does not fall far from the tree. This could not be closer to the truth when you look into the Sanderson Family Tree. While many watched Lipscomb University of Nashville, a small Division I school playing in the Atlantic Sun Conference, with less enrollment than South Carolina's freshman class, build an early 13 point lead in the first half and hold on to a 33-29 lead over the Gamecocks at intermission, another basketball attraction was taking place.
On Press Row was Winfrey "Wimp" Sanderson, the legendary coach of Alabama for 11 years, where he compiled 241 wins, including 9 NCAA Tournaments, 1 NIT, 8 SEC Finals, 5 SEC Titles and 6 "Sweet 16" appearances, a coaching accomplishment that obviously landed him in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. "Wimp" was also named SEC Coach of the Decade in the "80's."
On this same Sunday afternoon, sitting on the Lipscomb Bisons' bench, was Head Coach Scott Sanderson, a former South Carolina shooting guard and team captain in 1984, under former coach Bill Foster. Scott is entering his ninth season with the Bisons, after a very successful stint at the University of Mobile, where he compiled a 84-25 record in three seasons. After two very impressive NAIA seasons under Sanderson, the Bisons became a Division 1 program, posting a 21-11 record last year. earning Scott the Conference Coach of the Year. His NAIA team accomplishments gained him the NAIA Coach of the Year and Basketball Times NAIA Coach of the Year, in 1999 & 2000 respectively.
While on this same Sunday afternoon sitting on the Gamecock bench was Barry Sanderson, the Assistant Basketball Coach, who once served as the top assistant for Scott on the #2 Ranked Lipscomb team during the 1999-2000 season that posted a 34-4 record, Barry was a special assistant for four years under the elder Sanderson, along with 6 other years of Division 1 coaching positions at Arkansas-Little Rock, East Carolina and Wake Forest. Barry is considered to be one of the best future opponent scouting coaches, analyzing team and player tendencies to generate adequate game preparations and plans.
And if you haven't guessed it, "Wimp" is the Father, Scott the Son, and Barry the younger Brother. Now retired, "Wimp" is a popular TV Basketball Analyst for regional television networks and visits the Colonial Center often. Not in the Arena, was the older son Jim, who is the Head Coach of Faulkner University in Alabama. The oldest sibling (329-192) is considered one of the best NAIA coaches in America, having won a National Championship in 2001 and securing many regional and national honors, to include NAIA Coach of the Year. Jim gave Scott his first coaching job.
The Sanderson pedigree put a scare in the Gamecocks Sunday as Scott's well-coached and talented team gave the projected favorite host all they could handle, with game only being decided with less than a minute to play 75-68. The Bisons shot 43% from the field, matching that mark form the 3-point arc and 75% from the charity stripe. It took South Carolina's best shooting performance of the year (FG-53%, 3-Pt.-33%, FT-86%), to put this fiery team away. A Lipscomb victory would have given the USC Alumnus 200 victories in his young career.
Basketball, A Sanderson Family Affair
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