Former Waubonsee Community College coach and administrator Ray Lumpp was remembered fondly at a celebration of life open house held June 15. Lumpp passed away at the age of 89 on May 14, 2019 at St. Joseph Village in Chicago, surrounded by his family. Former players and colleagues gathered to reminisce about the Chiefs' legendary coach who helped put Waubonsee Athletics on the map in the 1970s.
Lumpp was born in rural Shelby County, Illinois to Mark and Bessie (Steger) Lumpp on February 4, 1930. He helped on the family farm and attended Shelbyville High School, where he began a lifelong love of basketball. Upon graduation in 1947 he moved to Racine, Wisconsin for work and played on two prominent area teams - American Bank and Silver Steel. Lumpp joined the National Guard in 1950 and while attending Eastern Illinois University, his unit was activated. He served in the 235th Field Artillery Observation Battalion in Korea until 1953. Upon his return from Korea, Lumpp attended Western Illinois University (WIU) where he played on the Leathernecks' championship basketball team, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees. He also met his future wife, Joyce Milburn at WIU and they were married in 1956. That same year Lumpp began his coaching and teaching career at Avon High School in western Illinois. The following year he moved on to Davenport (IA) West High School where he was an assistant coach from 1957 through 1965. In 1963 Lumpp earned another master's degree from the University of Missouri and became the head coach at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois in 1965.
Coach Lumpp arrived at Waubonsee in 1968 and served as the college's first physical education instructor and the first men's basketball coach, directing the program until 1980. He guided the Chiefs to four Skyway Conference Championships (1971, 1974, 1977 and 1978), and his 1977 team earned a trip to the Illinois Region IV Finals, at a time when all Illinois community colleges were in one division. Coach Lumpp came back to guide the Chiefs for the 1984-85 season, leading the team to a second-place finish in the Skyway Conference. It was the fifth runner-up finish for Waubonsee under Lumpp's leadership, as his Chiefs were either first or second in the Skyway 9 of the 11 seasons he directed the program. His teams won 75 percent of their Skyway contests, going 101-34 overall with just one sub-.500 season, never finishing lower than fourth.
In 1974 Lumpp took over as athletic director from Bill Prince and held that position until his retirement in 1986. He also served as the Region IV Wrestling Chairman, while Waubonsee hosted the NJCAA Region IV Wrestling Championships for 11 years. In addition, Lumpp served as an Assistant Director for the entire Region IV for several years. Even after retirement, Lumpp remained active with the Region IV by serving as the officiating assignor for a variety of sports, and in the same capacity for the Skyway Conference and the Region IV basketball tournament. Over the years Lumpp has also officiated countless baseball and basketball games from the junior high through collegiate level.
In 1999, Lumpp was inducted in to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He later moved to the Knoxville, Tennessee area where he lived for more than a decade. In 2007, he was one of eight individuals in Waubonsee's inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame class in conjunction with the school's 40th anniversary. He eventually moved back to the Chicagoland area to be near his family and made one last visit to Waubonsee in January, 2016. Coach Lumpp, along with 10 other members of the 1970-71 Skyway Conference title team, presented the college with a signed team portrait at halftime of a Chiefs' game which is proudly displayed in the school's trophy case.
Donations in Coach Lumpp's memory can be sent to the Waubonsee Community College Foundation for Scholarship Assistance through here.