KU Icon Gary Kempf Accepts Athletics Director Position at Asbury College

Dec. 21, 2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Gary Kempf, who has served the past 27 years as a successful coach and administrator at the University of Kansas, has accepted the position of Athletics Director at Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky., KU officials announced Tuesday.

Asbury College is Christian-based school located near Lexington, Ky. It sponsors 11 sports and competes at the NAIA level. Kempf will start his new position July 1 and remain at Kansas until the end of June 2005.

“My debt of gratitude to the University of Kansas is so deep,” Kempf said. “It has given me the opportunity to be a student-athlete, to get my education, to be a coach of the men’s and women’s swimming teams and then advance to the administrative level and gain all different levels of experience there. It has provided unbelievable opportunities for myself, my wife and my family. It’s been a ride that no one can ever forget.”

“There is a time in your life when you want to make some significant moves,” Kempf added. “One of the things we talked about as a family is working in a situation where we can work with our faith, at a Christian college such as Asbury, and work with Christian student-athletes to see whether we can help them have a better opportunity to see their potential.”

Kempf is currently Assistant Athletics Director for Traditions at KU. In his role he works with KU coaches in a counseling and mentoring role and also worked extensively with the K-Club, KU Hall of Fame, the Williams Educational Fund and the Wheel Club. The Bartlesville, Okla., native was promoted to assistant athletics director following the 2001-02 academic year.

Prior to his assistant AD appointment, Kempf served as the sport supervisor for numerous Olympic sports. He supervised the speed and strength unit, the K-Club and works with coach advising and mentoring. He also served as director of operations and served one year as a director of student-athlete life and coaches professional development.

Kempf spent 24 years as head coach of the women’s swimming team and 18 seasons as head coach of the men’s swimming squad. A six-time conference coach of the year and the 1983 NCAA Swimming Coach of the Year, Kempf was recognized for his outstanding service to the swimming program and the University when he was inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. He was also named the 1995 University of Kansas Employee of the Year.

Kempf began his association with the KU swimming program in 1972 when he joined the team as a freshman. He won seven individual Big Eight titles while leading the Jayhawks to three conference crowns.

A 1976 KU graduate, Kempf is married to the former Dorothy Frey. They have a son, Paul Thomas, and a daughter, Faith Ann.

“Gary has meant a great deal to the University of Kansas as a student-athlete, coach and administrator,” Kansas Athletics Director Lew Perkins said. “We are sorry to lose him but we are happy for him because of this exciting opportunity.”