Dethroning the defending national champions and getting his team further than they’d ever been during his tenure in ’14-‘15. Not a bad way for Kevin Kimball to set the table for his 6th year at the helm of the Bears’ Baseball program. Reaching the Region I Finals for the first time in his 5 years was validation for the utter dedication that Kimball brings to his craft. Kimball started his 16-year coaching career at the four-year college level, first at his alma mater, the University of Northern Colorado, as a hitting and outfield coach for 2 years; then spending 3 years as Southern Illinois University. Kimball then donned a coach’s jersey for the first time in the Grand Canyon State when he moved to Phoenix, and promptly became the first varsity baseball coach in Westwind Preparatory Academy history. Kimball’s name will indelibly etched in Westwind’s record book, since he led them to their first-ever baseball wins in his lone season there. He followed that up by overseeing the Verrado High School varsity baseball program the next year. When that season ended in late spring, Kimball headed east to Massachusetts for a summer as an assistant coach (under Mike Roberts, father of former Orioles’ infielder Brian Roberts) of the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod League, working with some of the top college talent from across the nation, including current major leaguers Jason Kipnis (Cleveland) and Drew Storen (Blue Jays).
That’s when Kimball crossed paths with current Gateway Head Baseball Coach Rob Shabansky, who invited him to come back to the college coaching level as the Geckos’ Associate Head Baseball Coach. Kimball spent a pair of seasons in the Geckos’ dugout, helping them clinch the top seed in the Region I Division II Playoffs in his last season. Kimball’s success at GWCC drew the interest of the Bears, who offered their open head baseball coaching job to Kimball in the summer of 2010, and the rest-as they say-is history. Kimball has led the Bears to a pair of Region I Playoff berths in his first 5 years, and it was fitting that Kimball’s first trip back to the postseason as the Bears’ Head Coach pitted him against his old team, Gateway, in the 2013 Region I Semis.
Kimball made an easy transition from player to coach, since he literally walked off the field after his final game as a star outfielder at Northern Colorado, and joined the staff the next year. Kimball was the main cog in the UNC Bears’ offense in both of his seasons, leading the team in four offensive categories-including a blistering .360 batting average. Kimball culminated his playing career by earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Kinesiology at UNC. He then went on to earn his Master’s degree in Sport Management at Southern Illinois. Kimball’s biggest accomplishment over the last year ISN’T the success of the baseball team on the field, though, since he’s formed a new ‘team’ over the past year: he’s a newlywed, having wed the former Samantha Esser; and a new father of a bouncing baby boy, Kamden.
American Baseball Coaches Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association