Sterling College, an NAIA school in Sterling, Kansas with 704 students, has announced the addition of men’s and women’s swimming, beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year. Simultaneously with their announcement of the new program, the school named Gary Kempf as the program’s head coach. Kempf is currently the school’s athletic director, a role he will serve in through December 2018.
“We are so excited to add these swimming programs to Warrior Athletics at Sterling College,” said Dr. Scott Rich, the president of Sterling College. “We are also pleased to have a coach of Gary’s demonstrated success, character and experience, and who is respected and known nationwide. Gary has done a tremendous job in leading our athletic department and we look forward to his leadership in our new swimming programs.”
Kempf swam collegiately at Kansas before they cut their men’s team, where he won 7 individual Big 8 Conference titles and led the team to 3 team conference championships. He then spent 24 years as the head coach of the Kansas women’s team and 18 as the head coach of the Kansas men’s team, where he earned 6 conference coach of the year honors and a 1983 NCAA Coach of the Year. He coached 2 American Record holders in his time there.
His time at Kansas ended after the KU student paper reported that “psychological abuse” and “breaking NCAA training rules” had caused the departure of 40 student-athletes and 10 assistant coaches in 5 years. Other members of the team disputed those claims.
After Kansas, he became assistant coach and athletic director at Asbury University where his wife Dorothy was the head coach from 2006-2011. Dorothy was named the NAIA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year in 2008, and coach 3 NAIA National Champions in her time there.
“I am so blessed to return to the sport that I love and continue my lifelong desire to minister to student-athletes through the sport of swimming alongside my wife, Dorothy,” said Kempf.
The team will compete in the newly-renovated pool at the Gleason Physical Education Center, which houses a 6-lane, 25-yard pool.