Jess Book Discusses His Team’s Success and the Coach Who Started it All, Jim Steen


In this episode of the SwimSwam podcast, we chatted with the Head Coach of Kenyon, Jess Book, just before he enters his 10th season as both the Men’s and Women’s coach. In that time he has been named CSCAA DIII Coach of the Year, five times, won four DIII NCAA Team Titles, and coached almost 50 individual NCAA champions. Book discusses the balance between letting an athlete have input on their training and maintaining a team atmosphere that allows the Owls to chase NCAA titles every season. 

Before Book became head coach, he spent four years as a swimmer at Kenyon and then later on four years as an assistant coach under the legendary coach Jim Steen. Next month, Coach Steen will be inducted into the Kenyon Athletic Hall of Fame. He is, statistically, the greatest coach in NCAA history. Not just a swim coach, he’s the greatest COACH in NCAA history. 50 team titles, 171 individual champions, 186 championship relays, and 16 CSCAA Coach of the Year awards only tell part of the story of Steen’s greatness. 

Book gives us some additional perspective on the man he will always refer to as, “Coach”. From his attention to detail to his empathetic approach to his athletes, Book tells stories and paints a beautiful picture of his coach, boss, and colleague. Along with the Hall of Fame ceremony, there will be an alumni reunion next month in Gambier, OH. All former and current Kenyon families are encouraged to join the festivities.

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10 months ago

Great swim mind- great human! Coach Jess is one of the best doing it the right way in all aspects.

Rick Paine
10 months ago

One of the best coaches and people in our sport.

Ice Golem
10 months ago

Yeah no Urban Meyer clears easily

retired coach
Reply to  Ice Golem
10 months ago

Regardless of the Won/Loss successes Jim Steen accomplished, like the John Wooden book, his highest accolade is “they call him coach!”. Can Urban Meyer say that??

Scotty P
Reply to  retired coach
10 months ago

I mean if we are comparing national titles here Steen still gets the edge.
Also back int he day Jim Tressel went to get some insight on building team culture from Steen.

I would say Jim Steen is and always will be one of those soft spoken legends.

About Garrett McCaffrey

No one lives the sport of swimming like Garrett McCaffrey. A Division I swimmer who spent 4 years covering the sport as a journalist, now coaches club swimming and competes as a masters swimmer, Garrett truly lives the sport of swimming. After graduating from University of Missouri’s award winning journalism program …

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