Yesterday Kim Brackin was released from her contract as Head Coach of the University of Texas Women’s Swimming Team. We contacted Kim by email, and she was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions.
Kim…tough day. I know you love your Longhorns.
Yes, I am extremely disappointed because my love for and loyalty to UT and the people I worked with is still strong. I had a great assistant in Jim Henry and we both worked hard to help rewrite the record boards of a historically successful Texas women’s program.
As the UT Women’s Head Coach, what are you the most proud of?
During my six year tenure, I strove to be a strong role model professionally and personally. I am proud that I helped these young women find excellence both athletically and academically.
With what happened today, has it changed anything about you, personally? Will this change your coaching philosophy?
No, the foundation of who I am as a person and coach continues to be strong values and principals, hard work, striving for excellence and a strong sense of personal accountability. Winning has always been important to me but, even more valuable, is how you get there and the personal lessons learned; college athletics has got to be more about life lessons than the scoreboard.
Kim, you’re ranked among the best coaches in the world. Can you explain a little about how you got there and how your career evolved at UT?
My experiences at Auburn taught me how to build a championship culture that embodied toughness and valued personal sacrifices that place “team” over individual. I am proud to say that is exactly what I have been striving to do at Texas. We’ve had a number of struggles and unfortunately, I wasn’t yet able to establish that culture here. UT expects and demands excellence and everyone involved wants immediate results; I couldn’t deliver those consistently so now I need to be held accountable.
How’s your relationship with the athletic department admin? Right now?
I am proud to have worked for and with Chris Plonsky. She held me to a high standard, was always honest, direct and wants only the best for the University of Texas, all things I demanded of myself. Charles Logan and his staff at the Texas Swim Center have always been first class and supportive of Texas Swimming and Diving. I am thankful for the University of Texas support staff from the training room, the strength and conditioning staff, the academic counselors to the folks that feed these kids in the dining hall! These athletes are given every resource to put themselves in a position to be successful and I continue to encourage them to show gratitude and respect for that.
Change is never easy. Every successful person goes through it, however. Who has helped build your foundation as a coach?
I really value the mentorship I’ve relied on from folks like Dave Durden, David Marsh, Richard Quick, Jack Roach, Kathie Wickstrand-Gahen and more importantly, people right here at UT like our trainer Tina Bonci, and coaches Bev Kearney and Matt Scoggin.
Kim, you’ve been very patient. One more question. What are your plans going forward?
I’ll miss a lot of the people here and I wish those Texas swimmers and divers only the best. I plan to continue to prepare Kirsty Coventry for her 4th Olympic Games in London and then take some time to welcome my husband back home from his service to our country and enjoy Austin with our children.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: As head coach of the University Texas Women’s Swimming Team, Brackin secured four top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships and was twice crowned Big XII coach of the year .
Brackin coached at Auburn University from 1997-2005, working daily with both the men’s and women’s swimming programs. At Auburn, she was part of seven NCAA Championships – three by the Tiger women and four by the Tiger men’s swim squad (2000, 2003-05). In her last three years at Auburn, she served as women’s co-head coach. Since Brackin’s arrival as an assistant, the women’s team progressively improved, moving from an 11th-place NCAA finish in 1999 to the Tigers’ first-ever women’s NCAA Championship in 2002. With Brackin as women’s co-head coach, the Tigers repeated as NCAA national champions in 2003 and 2004 and placed second nationally in 2005. Additionally, Auburn earned three straight SEC titles from 2003-05. Brackin was the 2002 NCAA Women’s Swimming Co-Head Coach of the Year and the 2003 SEC Swimming Co-Head Coach of the Year.
On the international stage, Brackin’s swimmers have won 7 Olympic medals, 9 World Championship medals, and 15 World University Games medals.