Lippe’s football legacy should carry on

Turn off Main Street and head south on Warrior Avenue. In the amount of time it takes to reposition your hands on the steering wheel, you’ll see Gene Winfield Stadium on your right.

Home of the Adair Warriors.

The stadium showcases the name of school district’s first superintendent. The road leading up to the stadium bears the mascot of the school.

Now it’s time to give the playing surface a proper name: Mark Lippe Field.

And, who knows, Lippe himself could make that his first order of business when he becomes Adair’s fourth superintendent in the school district’s history. It was decided this week by Adair’s school board that Lippe would take the reins of superintendent on July 1, taking over for current superintendent Tom Linihan, who has served in that role for 21 years.

Of course, Lippe is too humble to put his name on the natural grass turf. But somebody ought to do it.

There’s something to be said for what Lippe, 42, has done.

He may not be Adair’s winningest coach — Ken Lawson owns that distinction after compiling a 118-75-3 record over 18 seasons — but Lippe (86-15) does own Adair’s best winning percentage (.851) of any Adair coach who has coached longer than a handful of seasons. He started winning district titles in 2011, and the Warriors haven’t stop winning them since.

And more importantly, he guided Adair to the school’s first football state championship with a 70-6 pummeling of Haskell in 2015.

In 2016, Lippe — the Wyandotte graduate and University of Tulsa alum — wrapped up his coaching tenure with the Warriors by going 12-2. Adair, behind quarterback/safety B.J. Bradbury, marched its way to the Class 2A semifinals before being ousted by eventual champion Millwood.

He also split time as Adair’s high school principal. But he admitted to having to divert his attention from one or the other at all times.

“It was just becoming difficult to do the absolute best at both jobs,” Lippe told the Tulsa World. “I was always torn.”

Now, though, he can focus on duties with his new role.

“Noel E. Winfield, Jack Dryden and Tom Linihan most definitely make up the Mount Rushmore of Adair Public Schools,” Lippe said referring to Adair’s three previous superintendents. “My goal is to work tirelessly to continue their legacy and build on the foundation the outstanding educators of Adair have laid.”

The magnitude of the job is not lost on Lippe, either.

“I have a great appreciation of the fact that the parents of our community trust our school system with the most precious gift the Lord gives us in our children,” Lippe said, ever so eloquently. “That is a responsibility I take very seriously. The opportunity to influence and guide 1,000 students toward a path of success is humbling and exciting at the same time.”

When it comes to an outlook on impact, Lippe said he’s ready to hit the ground running.

“I am eager to begin working with the students, parents and staff of Adair Public Schools as we seek ways to constantly improve and move forward,” he said. “Education in our state is truly at a crossroads. My goal is to advocate for public education in our great state (while) working with fellow educators, parents and legislators to find solutions that best serve students.”

And Lippe hopes to channel his inner Martin Luther King Jr.

“Dr. King said, ‘everybody can be great because anybody can serve,’” Lippe said. “This theme symbolizes the type of impact I hope to have on Adair Public Schools. The superintendent is a servant of the community.

“My goal is to fight relentlessly for our core values every day while working to improve key areas of our school. The ultimate goal and responsibility of all employees is to ensure students not only graduate from Adair Public Schools, but also receive diplomas that truly demonstrate college and work readiness for post-secondary pursuits.”

If Lippe is able to equate his football successes to those he hopes to accomplish in the board room, Adair is in great shape. But the first order of business — before Lippe starts cranking away at Adair’s educational foundation — should be to memorialize Lippe’s accomplishments on the gridiron.

After all, Mark Lippe Field sounds pretty appropriate.

2015-12-13 sp-hsjohnson

Mark Lippe is all smiles after getting water poured on him by players in the final minute during the 2A state championship between the Adair Warriors and the Haskell Haymakers at Owasso High School on December 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Joey Johnson/for the Tulsa World

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