The University Record, November 19, 2001

World renown diving coach says goodbye

By Lesley Harding

View from diving platform at Canham Natatorium (Photo courtesy Department of Athletics)
In his 43 years here at the U-M, 47 if you count the years he attended the school, Dick Kimball has made quite a splash. But now after an incredible University career, complete with titles, awards and Olympic medals, the men’s and women’s diving coach will retire at the end of this athletic season.

“Michigan’s been a fantastic place for me. My whole life revolves around the University. It’s been a great school, the people are tremendous and I’ve really enjoyed my experience here,” says Kimball.

Kimball is the last member of the athletic staff to be hired by former Athletic Director Fritz Crisler. He has led the men’s diving team for more than four decades, and women’s diving for 27 years.

His swimming cap has a number of feathers. Nine of his divers have medalled at the Olympics, including four who brought home the gold. As competitor and coach, Kimball has been a part of five NCAA national championship teams and 33 Big Ten Conference championship teams. He has coached three Big Ten Women’s Diver of the Year recipients and seven Big Ten women’s diving champions. In 1985, Kimball was the head coach for the World Student Games in Kobe, Japan, and was one of three coaches to head the U.S. diving team at the 1993 FINA Cup in Beijing.

While he has enjoyed every minute of his career, Kimball says there are a few moments that really stand out. These enclude when Micki King won the Olympic gold medal in 1972, and when his son, Bruce Kimball; won the silver, Ron Merriott the bronze and Chris Seufert the women’s bronze, all at the 1984 Los Angeles games.

“I enjoy it,” says Kimball. “I’d keep coaching if it weren’t for the recruiting and scheduling. It puts you on the road every day. Coaching is the fun part. It’s all the other things that go along with it that make it difficult.”

Retirement doesn’t mean Kimball is hanging up the goggles. He plans on establishing U.S. and international diving clinics, and he says he’ll still swim 1,000 yards and roller-blade each day.

Kimball will stay until the end of this year’s season in 2002, saying he doesn’t want to leave this group of divers high and dry.