by Holly Fenner Ritter ’05
It’s safe to say that Tim Kish ’76 was born to coach. The son of Mike Kish, former Otterbein men’s basketball coach and director of admission, Tim spent a lot of time as a kid in the old Otterbein gym (now Riley Auditorium in Battelle Fine Arts Center) and touts his father as his biggest influence for pursuing coaching.
Now in his 37th year of coaching football, Kish is preparing for his first season as the assistant defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of Oklahoma.
“This is a great place to be and a great place to live,” he said. “I am humbled to have this opportunity with one of the best football programs in the country.”
A four-year letterman as a defensive back and a basketball player at Otterbein, Kish said he is inspired by his student athletes to mentor and help them develop on and off the field.
“It’s about relating to the players, teaching them life lessons and sending them out into the world better than when they came,” he said. “It’s a wonderful experience when players keep in touch. It makes you think you did something right along the way.”
Before becoming a Sooner, Kish held various coaching positions, including interim head coach at the University of Arizona. He has also coached at Indiana University, Ohio University, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, Army, Ball State University, Purdue University and Bowling Green State University.
Kish said the competitive nature of college football is second to none. “To me, it’s the pureness of the collegiate arena, the opportunity to develop relationships with the student athletes and the interaction between the college and the community,” he said.
As a coach, he said he hopes that, like him, his players have a positive experience as student athletes.
“Bottom line, it’s the chance to be a part of a team, to understand camaraderie and to be a better citizen in the community,” he said. “There are no guarantees in life. You have to make the best of every day. That’s how I live and that’s what I try to instill in my players.”