MHSAA Hall of Fame Coach Don Kimble Dies After Battle With Cancer at 60

Long-time Michigan swimming coach Don Kimble died in hospice care on Monday morning at 60 years old. Kimble was first diagnosed with a metastatic melanoma in 2019, which led to removing the spot on his chest plus four lymph nodes in August that year. However in March 2020, doctors found a malignant tumor in his brain. On May 1st, Kimble returned home from hospital care, only to be surprised by his community and current/past swimmers with uplifting signs. On May 25th, Kimble died peacefully, surrounded by his family and loved ones.

Kimble has been a member of the West Michigan swimming community since 1980, racking up 6 total Michigan high school state championship titles, 5 state runner-up finishes, and 20 conference titles, and 31 individual state champions over his 34-year coaching career. Kimble’s first team was with the Holland Christian High School boys from 1980-1989, where led the squad to 3 conference titles and 2 state titles. From 1983-1987, Kimble also coached the Maroon girls to 4 conference titles. After taking a 9-year coaching hiatus, Kimble went on to lead the Holland High School boys and girls to matching state championships in 2002.

Along with his high school impact, Kimble was also a club coach for many years with Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics, assisting in many swimmers’ successes at junior nationals, D1/D2 college programs, and qualifying for Olympic Trials. In 2012, Kimble was awarded with the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Matt Mann Award, the highest MISCA honor. In 2014, Kimble was then named to the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, yet his coaching career was not done there.

Later in 2013, Kimble took over the struggling Byron Center High School swim program. Two years later, Kimble led the girls team to their first conference title along with breaking 10 of 11 school records. Kimble also coached Byron Center’s club program, where he built club membership from 25 participants to 150 participants. In July 2019, Kimble was named assistant coach to the Davenport University women’s swim program, which debuted in fall 2018. While his time was short at Davenport, he assisted the team to a 4th-place finish at the 2020 GLIAC Championships, one place better than 2019.

He was also renowned for his whistle, which still echos throughout the state’s pools.




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2 years ago

If only this was a bad dream but just like the day we did 10×200 kick with bags. It’s reality. Now I know why you taught us to be strong. One day we’d have to be strong enough to be apart for a while.

I can’t wait until the day I see your bright smiling face again. Miss you so much Don. I am so very thankful for the gift you were in my life.🧡

Drew Hinckley
3 years ago

A great coach and even better person. Thank you for Everything Don ❤️

3 years ago

Is his Dad Dick Kimble, the former diving coach from UM?

Coach Chackett
Reply to  #MFan
3 years ago

Dad was not Dick Kimball, diving coach.

Reply to  Coach Chackett
3 years ago

thank you

3 years ago


Kalina Emaus
3 years ago

Don is truly a legacy in coaching and also as a person and the way he treated his athletes. He pushed us, he loved us, made us laugh, and believed in us. He can be attributed to so many success stories in the pool as well as life because he taught us how to fight hard when the going gets tough. I have no doubt his legacy will live on inside the hearts of those who he coached.
I love you Don, and going to miss you more than words can say, but so glad you’re not in pain and that I got to know you. What a gift, now enjoy yours, and welcome home.
-Your “Kiddoo/Jingeweed”

Victoria Postmus
3 years ago

Don was and is one of the most incredible people I have ever met! I was so blessed to have him as a coach for 8 years! He truly impacted my life and I will never forget his love and encouragement and ear piercing whistle that will forever hold a special place in my heart 💗

A Fellow Jingeweed/Kiddooo!
3 years ago

An absolute legend in his impact in and out of the pool. His legacy will live on in countless lives.
With love, rest easy Don. Miss and love you so much.
Thank you for sharing swimswam.

3 years ago

This is so sad. My prayers go out to his family and swimmers.

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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