Sterling College Announces New Swim Program; Hires Former Kansas Coach

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.


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4 years ago

It’s great to see that you will be back on the pool deck!

4 years ago

I thought the Title meant the one in Scotland, and I thought “man, they’re gonna be great with all those World Record Holders to train with!”

Chris DeSantis
4 years ago

So did Kansas ever actually investigate whether there were NCAA violations? Whether 40 student-athletes actually left and ten assistants in five years? Especially the second two would seem to be easy to determine the veracity of. This is not gray area stuff- either it happened or it didn’t.

Reply to  Chris DeSantis
4 years ago

Well, he’s a man, so obviously he did it. Amiright?

Becky D
Reply to  SwimWatcher
4 years ago

Not only a man, but a WHITE MAN.

Reply to  Becky D
4 years ago

Nowhere in the article does it say that Gary Kempf identifies with being a white male.

Stan Crump
4 years ago

Go Gary! Will be good to have you on the deck again.

4 years ago

Back on the pool deck where you belong!
Great news for Sterling and Midwest swimmers!!

Josh GWU
4 years ago

Congrats Gary! What a great coach!

Michael Lawrence
4 years ago

Congrats, Gary!!!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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