John D. Piper, a former golf coach for Bowling Green State University and retired faculty member, died Nov. 26 in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 81.
He died of complications from scoliosis in Fort Myers Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, said Sylvia Piper, his wife of 55 years.
The couple moved permanently about three years ago from Bowling Green to Fort Myers. They had previously spent winters there and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“John wanted to stay in Bowling Green for at least part of the years. Bowling Green was home to him but he couldn’t take traveling,” Mrs. Piper said.
During his 13 years as head coach, Mr. Piper led the BGSU men’s golf team to three Mid-American Conference championships as well as participating in three NCAA tournaments.
He also taught BGSU courses in health, physical education, and recreation from 1967 when he joined the faculty until his retirement in 1993. As an educator, he was selected as a finalist for the school’s University Master Teacher Award by the BGSU Undergraduate Alumni Association on five occasions.
He was born on Feb. 21, 1936 to Florence and Frank Piper in Sandusky.
Mrs. Piper said he picked up the sport of golf at age 15 or 16 and played with the team at Sandusky High School, where he also was a quarterback on the football team. He also was a caddy at a local golf course.
He played on the golf team at the University of Mount Union in Alliance. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1958.
He taught English and coached golf and basketball at Port Clinton, Sandusky, and Lakewood high schools for one year each.
Mrs. Piper said her husband took classes during summers to earn a master’s degree in education in 1961. He was awarded his doctorate in health and physical education from Ohio State University in 1969.
Mr. Piper joined BGSU in 1967 to teach and coach the freshman basketball team. He took over head coach golfing duties in 1970. His MAC championships came in 1972, 1973, and 1978, when he was named MAC coach of the year.
Mr. Piper’s teams won 20 tournament titles and posted a .671 winning percentage.
He was inducted into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Surviving are his wife, Sylvia; son, Mark; brother, Dean Piper, and two granddaughters.
A memorial service will be held Jan. 20 in Zoar Lutheran Church in Perrysburg.
Tributes are suggested to Creason-Piper Endowed Scholarship Fund at BGSU, John Piper Endowed Men’s Golf Fund at the University of Mount Union, or the charity of the donor’s choice.
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