A Tradition that Stuck
McEnroe Casper's pre-game tradition endures throughout Chipman's career
Bob Chipman needed a way to calm his nerves before a game early in his career.
Betty McEnroe Casper and her husband, Joe Casper, had season tickets and traveled to away games back then.
“He would get tighter than a tick before a game,” McEnroe Casper, 90, said of her longtime friend while recently retelling the story.
“Joe and I were at a game, and he came up to me. He said, ‘Betty, you got any gum?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Can I have some?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ So I gave it to him. I think I had a full pack to give him, and I said, ‘Here, take it.’
“Well, under his chair, under the bench, it looked like a rat’s nest where he peeled all the gum wrappers off. So the next night, he came up to me and said, ‘Betty, you got any gum?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Can I have some?’ So that started, and it’s gone on all these years.”
When Joe passed away in 2009, Betty stopped going to away games. As her health declined, she had to stop coming to home games.
“However, I still have my season tickets,” she says proudly.
And she still made sure Chipman got his gum, putting together packets for every game before each season started all the way through his final season in 2016-17.
The relationship between the two families grew with things like dinners together and a quilt McEnroe Casper made when Bob and Carol Chipman’s daughter, Kelsey, was born. When Bobby, bba ’13, mba ’16, jd ’16, was born, they passed it on to him.
She has another connection to Chipman and his 38-year career. She helped raise funds to build the Petro Allied Health Center, the home of Lee Arena where Chipman has been the only Washburn men’s basketball coach to take the court. She has also given generously of her time and money to athletics and other areas on campus, and Washburn bestowed on her an honorary doctor of public service in 2013.
“I’m a Washburn person,” she said. “I’m very close to Washburn. My children got excellent educations there, and my husband took his pre-dental courses there.”
She knows Chipman will be missed and tough to replace.
“I think Washburn was fortunate to have him,” she said. “It’s been fun to watch him, and he is just part of our family as far as I am concerned.”