INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Chip Sherman’s story didn’t end when he left Platte County. In fact, the legendary coach simply decided to add a few chapters to his legacy.
Currently at Olathe North (Kan.), Sherman accepted the biggest honor of his career Sunday, Nov. 12 with his induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center. He went in for his 20 years at Platte County where he built a dynasty and won nearly 84 percent of the games he coached with the Pirates.
Sherman moved on from the school 10 years ago but still thinks about all of the accomplishments for Platte County, including three straight undefeated Class 3A state titles from 2000-2002.
“I do often,” Sherman said. “What’s important are the relationships. It’s not the wins or the losses. The last few jobs have been rebuilds, and I’ve really enjoyed that — really, really enjoyed taking programs that have not had a whole lot of success and maybe helping them get started.”
That’s exactly what Sherman did at Platte County.
A native of New Jersey, Sherman came to Tarkio College to play collegiate football and remained in the area to start his coaching career — first as an assistant at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. and then Grandview High School. Platte County gave him his first head coaching job in 1988, inheriting a program with just three winning seasons in the prior 15 years.
Sherman wouldn’t have a losing season during the next two decades. He left after the 2007 season with a record of 191-37, and his winning percentage of .838 ranks in the top 10 all-time in state history.
This year’s hall of fame class featured Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Bill Maas, Kansas City Royals third baseman Kevin Seitzer, St. Joseph Benton and University of Missouri tight end Martin Rucker and retired Smithville High School girls basketball coach Diana Tingler and Northwest Missouri State University’s 1998 and 1999 national championship football teams. Kansas City businessman James Roberts, who had two children graduate from Park Hill High School, received the President’s Award, given to an individual who supports sports in the state and especially the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
The event marked the first enshrinement in the Kansas City area for the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and seventh away from its home in Springfield, Mo. Prior enshrinements were held in St. Joseph, Kirksville, Jefferson City, St. Charles, Columbia and Cape Girardeau.
“Just look at the other honorees,” Sherman said. “There’s a lot of great people. Driving down here, I’m thinking there are many other people more deserving of this than I am, and I’m just thankful they chose me.”
During his brief acceptance speech, Sherman thanked his family, including wife and longtime Platte County teacher Angie Sherman and Platte County graduates Keith, Zach, Katie and Jessica for helping his career.
Sherman led Platte County to the playoffs 12 times, including state semifinal appearances in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2005. Known for disciplined, balanced teams, the biggest highlight in his career came with a 52-game winning streak — still the second longest unbeaten streak in state history — that included all three state titles.
Going back to a run to the Class 3A semifinals in 1999 and ending with a 10-1 season in 2003, Platte County won 64 of 66 games during a five-year span.
After retiring from Platte County, Sherman continued his coaching career in Kansas with stops at Salina South, Shawnee Mission East and Olathe Northwest in Kansas. His career record stands at 254-72, having reached the 250-win mark last season with Olathe Northwest.
Sherman will remain connected to Platte County no matter how long his career continues. The passion for coaching continues, but after already winning one fight with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, he admits time could be running out on his career.
When he does retire, Sherman plans to do so as a Platte County coach.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “I’ll always be a Platte County guy — always. We still have a home there; that’s where we’ll retire.”
On the same weekend Sherman went into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Platte County defeated Moberly in a Class 4 quarterfinal to earn the sixth semifinal berth in program history and first without Sherman and since moving up from Class 3. He took notice of the first big step in the state playoffs for current coach Bill Utz, who spent time as an assistant for the Pirates under Sherman.
“I’m so happy for those guys,” Sherman said. “There’s still a lot of people there that I care an awful lot about. There’s kids in that program that I coached their dads. Those kind of loyalties are there forever.”
Sherman also insists he hasn’t made his final appearance at Platte County’s Pirate Stadium. While it’s unlikely he ever coaches at the place that became his first coaching home, he plans to come back — some day.
“When I’m not coach on a Friday night, I’ll be at Pirate Stadium,” Sherman said.