Former UTSA basketball coach killed in motorcyle accident in Austin
Posted on June 28, 2014 at 11:57 AM
AUSTIN, Texas -- Former UTSA women's basketball coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair was killed in a motorcycle accident Friday afternoon in Austin.
Rippetoe-Blair, who coached the Roadrunners for 13 seasons before resigning last August, was 52.
Rippetoe-Blair apparently lost control of her motorcycle on an overpass in north Austin, according to reports. Rippetoe-Blair and the motorcycle fell over the edge of the overpass. No other cars were involved in the accident, according to reports.
Rippetoe-Blair had sold her motorcycle and was on her way to deliver it to the buyer in Austin when she had the accident, her mother said by phone Saturday morning.
“Rae loved San Antonio and she loved UTSA,” Anita Rippetoe said. “She couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. She was such a sincere, personable and loving person. She just loved everybody.
“I must have met a million people when I went down to San Antonio for her 50th birthday party. I had heard about all her friends, and they were all so nice to her and to me. I thought to myself, no wonder she loves San Antonio so much.”
Rippetoe-Blair continued to live in Boerne after her husband, Craig, died in March after a long illness. He was 51.
“She had taken some time off to help take care of Craig,” Anita Rippetoe said. “She didn’t know what she wanted to do after he died. She said, ‘If something good (in coaching) opens up, I’ll probably jump at the chance. But if doesn’t, I’m going to look into other things.’
“She was looking at two or three different jobs and had her resume updated. But she was struggling about leaving San Antonio. She couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the city and so many of her friends.”
Rippetoe-Blair led UTSA to NCAA tournament twice
Rippetoe-Blair's parents (her father is named Wayne) still live in Ardmore, Okla., where Rae and her younger brother Ron grew up. Ron Rippetoe died five years ago at age 44.
Born in Altus, Okla., on May 21, 1962, Rippetoe-Blair went 216-173 during her tenure at UTSA and led the Roadrunners to the NCAA tournament in 2008 and 2009.
UTSA won the Southland Conference tournament twice under Rippetoe-Blair, who was an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, her alma mater, for eight seasons before taking over the Roadrunners' program in 2000.
"Immediately after a game, win or lose, wherever she was, she always called me," Anita Rippetoe said. "I'd have to tell her, 'It's going to be all right. You're going to win the next one.' Or I'd tell her, 'Congratulations for winning that one.' Those girls who played for her were just like her kids.
UTSA also took SLC regular-season championships in 2003 and 2009 with Rippetoe-Blair at the helm. Rippetoe-Blair was named SLC Women's Basketball Coach of the Decade for her success in the 2000s.
Rippetoe-Blair's only other head-coaching stint was at Phillips University in Enid, Okla., where she compiled a 107-44 record in five seasons and guided the Haymakers to the NAIA playoffs each year.
Rippetoe-Blair started her coaching career in 1985 as an assistant at Southern Nazarene in Bethany, Okla., after graduating from Oklahoma State with a degree in business administration.
A basketball standout at OSU, Rippetoe-Blair coached at the collegiate level throughout her 20-year career. She planned to pursue a career in business when she started college, but changed her mind as she completed work toward her degree.
"My mother was in education and she always said, 'Rae, you're going to coach,'" Rippetoe-Blair said in a 2013 interview. "And I would always tell her, 'No, I'm going to be a businesswoman.' I had this big idea that I wanted to be in the corporate world.
"My fifth year (of college), I was finishing up and I thought about what I was going to do without basketball. I'm sitting there and not playing ball and I'm thinking, 'What am I going to do?' My whole life was in basketball. That's when I decided I was going to coach."
Rippetoe-Blair said in the 2013 interview that the biggest infuence in her life was her mother, a former school counselor and teacher.
"My mom has probably been my biggest fan and my biggest critic," Rippetoe-Blair said, chuckling. "She'll call me after a game and say, 'Why did you play her?' My dad is more quiet."
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