When the current school year comes to an end, Kreg Kimple — one of the more familiar faces in the local sports scene — will be retiring from coaching.
For the past 16 years, Kimple has been coaching at Stephenville High School. He’s busy now as the head boys track and field coach, and has also been serving as an assistant football coach.
But Kimple’s schedule, if anything, is as busy as ever right now.
He still has plenty of important coaching moments just ahead, because 33 SHS track athletes who qualified to advance out of the district meet last week will be competing Wednesday, April 17, in the area meet in Springtown. Kimple has 16 varsity boys who advanced, while SHS girls coach Jeremiah Butchee is still coaching 17 area girls qualifiers.
After that, the regional qualifiers (top four in each area event) will compete in the Region I-4A meet in Lubbock, April 26-27. The top two individuals in each regional event will advance to the state meet May 10-11 in Austin.
2012 STATE TITLE
Kimple was an assistant coach for Refugio’s 2000 boys state track championship team, and 12 years later he added another impressive post to his coaching resume.
Kimple had been a varsity football assistant coach and the head girls track coach at Poth before being hired to come to SHS to join the staff of Chad Morris. That led to Kimple being part of Gillespie’s coaching staff in 2012 when the Yellow Jackets won their fifth state football championship.
“I’ve been so lucky to work with the coaches and the kids that have been here,” said Kimple, who is 52. “With coach Morris and (Joseph) Gillespie and (Greg) Winder and the other guys I’ve gotten to work with, it’s been just great. The kids have worked so hard and the parents have been great.”
While Kimple found it difficult to pick out the most special sports moments he has been a part of, he had no trouble describing his favorite memories.
“Seeing the guys I’ve coached become good fathers, being good husbands,” Kimple said. “Seeing those guys get married and have kids is probably the most satisfying thing.”
He has enjoyed seeing the track athletes setting numerous personal records — far too many to count.
“That’s hard work those kids have done. The exciting thing about track is the kids competing as hard as they can. That’s what Stephenville kids do,” he said, noting that it has been great to see them “doing something they’ve never done before.”
A bonus in coaching for Kimple was, as he put it, “Getting to coach my own kids. That’s huge. That’s hard to put into words. The neat thing was just seeing them walk down the hall.”
Kimple and his wife have three children, including 18-year-old twins Aly and Payton, who will graduate in May. They plan to attend Texas Tech. Payton is part of the group that will be competing in the area meet, having qualified in the 1,600-meter relay team along with Gavin Rountree, Hank Moore and Kyle Styron.
Their oldest son, Payne, is a 24-year-old Texas Tech graduate. He is engaged to former SHS track standout Ashtin Ivey, and they plan to marry in June.
Kimple worked the past four seasons on the varsity football coaching staff of head coach Greg Winder, who resigned following the 2018 campaign. Kimple said he already had his mind made up to retire from the coaching life before that occurred.
“I told coach (Athletic Director Jerod) Womack a few days before coach Winder resigned,” Kimple said. “At the end of the football season, my wife (Michelle) and I started talking about it. I told coach Winder I was considering it. I just felt like it was time.”
Kimple’s coaching career began in 1990 when he was hired for the San Angelo Edison Junior High School staff. After seven years there, he coached one year at Poth and three years at Bay City.
Kimple met Morris, who is now the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, when they were both coaching in Bay City.
“When Chad was hired (by SHS), he brought me and a few others here,” Kimple said, noting that he was the head boys golf coach when he first came to SHS, along with being a football assistant.
“I moved to track in the third or fourth year here — probably 2006.”
Kimple was named as the head boys track coach here in 2011.
For the last three years, Kimple has been selling insurance when not coaching. He said he will continue to do that, and is keeping his options open to possibly teaching math in school on a part-time basis.