[Posted Feb. 7, 2017] More than 150 family, friends and former students and staff said goodbye to Uni’s legendary coach, Dick Kampmann, at a memorial service on campus on February 4.
Pictured above: Son Bill Stimming and grandson Christopher Stimming at the podium during the memorial service for Coach Dick Kampmann (Photos courtesy Ivan Finkle/UHEF)
Kampmann passed away on January 24 at age 92 at his home in Santa Monica. While the burial was private, the memorial service was open to allow those who knew him to salute him one more time.
“Coach Richard Kampmann built champions from within,” said Ed Jackson ‘71, who later coached the track & field team at Venice High. “He provided training with knowledge and a role model for all who needed him. He taught us to value friendships and to work with each other toward achieving goals that seemed lofty at the time.”
Pepperdine University cross country and track & field coach Robert Radnoti, who took over for Kampmann after he retired there in 2005, talked about Coach K as a role model in his 80s: “Great coaches are gifted with an ability to unlock what is bound up in others, and of course if they themselves could explain this gift, great coaching could be learned and perhaps we’d have more of them. I know many of you are great coaches and we have Richard Kampmann to thank for that. He modeled great coaching for us. He did not tell us how to coach. He simply modeled it.”
The highlight of the program was an unexpected appearance by Kampmann’s 1958 cross country captain from Dorsey High School: Mike Love, better known as a founding member of the Beach Boys. Close to Kampmann for decades after their time together, Love was scheduled to be in Houston for a Super Bowl LI party, but when the event was canceled, came to Uni to salute his high school coach.
Sharing some of his comments from the Santa Monica Observer about Kampmann, Love wrote, “Coach Kampmann’s influence cannot be quantified. He touched so many lives of so many of us as young guys of varying degrees of talent. Even if you weren’t the greatest runner. He made you feel like you were an Olympian.”
Love (pictured above wearing Chuck Levin’s 1965 letterman’s jacket!) also noted that the Beach Boys hit “Be True to Your School” was inspired by Coach K, but also – as he said at the service – “by the [Dorsey] cheerleaders.”
The service included a homily from former Uni pole vaulter Rev. Robert Acker ‘74 of the Community Baptist Church of Rancho Cucamonga, hand-picked by Kampmann in 2014 to officiate at his funeral, as well as comments from Love, Lenny Levine ‘64, Jackson, San Pedro High School coach Bruce Thomson, who was mentored by Kampmann, Radnoti and, of course, son Bill Stimming and grandson Christopher Stimming.
A surprise guest brought by the Stimmings was Kampmann’s legendary 1955 Ford Thunderbird convertible, parked in front of the Stivelman Theater for all to see, with many guests taking selfies of themselves with Coach’s iconic car, that was usually parked on Rochester Avenue between Uni and Brockton Elementary School.
In accordance with the wishes of the family, a Richard M. Kampmann Scholarship Fund has been established at Uni in coordination with the Uni Hi Education Foundation. Contributions can be made through the UHEF Web site by clicking here, and entering “Kampmann Fund” in the Comments section.