NCAA Division III school Linfield College has hired a new coach head coach, Kyle Kimball, to replace the recently-retired Gary Gutierrez.
Kimball comes from the BearCat Swim club in Salem, Oregon, and will also teach in the Health and Human Performance department.
Kimball was named the most valuable swimmer during his junior and senior seasons at the University of Washington before they cut their program. Since then, he has spent the last 12 years as a club coach, first from 2002-2011 at the McMinnville Swim Club, which is the home-town swim club of Linfield College, also located in McMinnville.
Kimball’s most recent stop, BearCat, is usually good for a couple of NCAA swimmers in every class, though most of the best-known names (Amber Bouche, Crystal Kibby, Tori Simenec) were before Kimball’s time there.
McMinville itself has some swimming history even with its small population of 37,000. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, it was home to Stephanie Egan, who would become an NCAA qualifier for BYU.
More recently, during Kimball’s time leading the program, the McMinville Swim Club produced Nelson Westby: a four-time NCAA Division III National Champion.
The women’s team finished 7th at the Northwest Conference Championships in 2014 out of 8 teams, and the men’s program was 8th out of 8 teams. In the athletics department’s own words, Kimball “inherits a program that competes in a modern facility and on an attractive campus, but that had seen a dropoff in results in recent seasons.”
That facility is a beautiful 25-yard, 8-lane indoor pool with natural lighting and elevated seating located about 45 minutes southwest of Portland.
The athletics program is best known for a football program that has had 58 winning seasons in a row: a record for all levels of college football.