When the NCAA announced a one-year extension for player eligibility, Missouri State University College of Business (COB) student and Lady Bear Abby Hipp jumped at the chance.
Embracing the opportunity to round out her studies and finish strong with her team is a testament to Hipp’s characteristic drive.
“I call Abby ‘The Mayor of Missouri State,’ because she seems to know everyone on campus and everyone seems to know her,” said Dan Raines, academic counselor to the Lady Bears. “Her combination of empathy and positive energy allows her to build lasting and genuine relationships.”
“She’s also a brilliant, hardworking student and one of the best leaders I’ve been around.”
A passionate student and player
The basketball program, facilities and fanbase attracted Hipp to Missouri State.
“I’ve had two coaches in my time here at Missouri State,” Hipp said. “Both of them emphasized academics.”
“They reminded us how lucky we were to be on athletic scholarships and to be getting an education. We knew if we didn’t perform well in the classroom that we wouldn’t get to play.”
As the daughter of two teachers, Hipp already had a strong sense of the value of education.
“I really enjoy going to class,” Hipp said. “I think I can be kind of a nerd compared to some of my friends, but I’ve loved my time at Missouri State and my professors.”
The Lady Bears made it to the Sweet 16 her sophomore year.
“It’s my best memory from my time here,” Hipp said. “We beat Iowa State on their home court in a crowded arena. We were definitely the underdogs.”
Deciding on business
Hipp began her time at Missouri State pursuing exercise science with the hope of going into physical therapy. But she realized her true passion was coaching.
In her sophomore year, she changed her major to business administration and management, and is now an accelerated MBA student with an emphasis in marketing. She expects to graduate with her master’s degree in August 2022.
“When I realized I wanted to be a college coach, I knew I would need skills like financial management, marketing and relationship building,” Hipp said.
“The accelerated MBA has been such a blessing. It has allowed me to complete my MBA in one year.”
Hipp notes that her COB professors were always happy to make accommodations for her when she was on the road with the team.
A bittersweet goodbye
Hipp embodies the advice Raines shares with entering freshmen: engage with your classes, get involved, take risks, be a leader and you will have no regrets.
She will leave the Lady Bears this spring to follow former Lady Bears head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton (Coach Mox) to the University of Virginia. There, she will begin her new job as the director of scouting and player development for the women’s basketball program.
Hipp’s parting advice for student athletes: “Soak it in and stay present,” Hipp said.
“The grind of a 6 a.m. workout or studying on the road can be tough. Just soak it all in with your team, stay present and cherish the opportunity you were given.”