Dick Kimball, Olympic Coach - University of Michigan
2002 Paragon Award / Competitive Diving
After 43 years of coaching diving, all at the University of Michigan, Dick Kimball has fallen to mandatory retirement. His appearance and fitness levels are that of a man half of his 67 years. His coaching and teaching levels are energetic, on time and without reminenance. He can still do a 4-1/2 somersault with a trampolet off the 10m platform. He is diving’s legend of the sport.
After winning the Minnesota High School State Diving Championship for 4 years, Dick spent one year at Oklahoma before heading to Michigan. He never left. He was an NCAA Champion on the 1 meter and 3 meter springboards and trampoline. He was considered the all-time world’s greatest acrobatic diver, teaming up with Hobie Billingsley and then Ron O’Brien. He was the first to put a spotting rig over a diving board, developing many new dives. His divers Micki King and Lani Loken were the first women (1967) to do a complete men’s list off the women’s tower.
Dick has coached 9 divers to Olympic medals and 5 divers to NCAA National Championships. Four Olympians won five gold medals: Bob Webster – 10m platform (1960, 1964), Micki King – 3m springboard (1972), Phil Boggs – 3m springboard (1976) and Mark Lenzi – 3m springboard (1992) . Three divers won silver medals: Alvaro Gaxiola – platform (1968), Dick Rydze – platform (1972) and son Bruce Kimball – platform (1984). Ron Merriott and Chris Seufert both won springboard bronze medals in 1984.
Kimball was assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic teams of 1964, ’80, ’84, ’88 and ’92 and a four-time World Championship team coach. He has been coach of teams for numerous international trips throughout the world. He has been a mentor to many pupils and he has had great impact on their lives as well as their diving.
Dick was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1985.