Tennals inducted into Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame

Submitted by The Seneca Courier-Tribune

On Saturday, Oct. 26, in Winfield, former high school volleyball coaches Kimbrook and Kim (Albin) Tennal were inducted into the Southwestern College (SC) Athletic Hall of Fame. They were the first husband and wife pair to be inducted into their alma mater’s hall of fame.

Kim, a 1973 graduate of Dawson High School in Nebraska, played volleyball for SC. Kimbrook, a 1972 graduate of Sabetha High School, played fullback and defensive end for the Moundbuilders’ football team, and threw the javelin and pole vaulted for the track team. In his junior year, Kimbrook was the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) champion in javelin.

After graduating from SC in 1976, Kim and Kimbrook began coaching and teaching careers that spanned 43 years before they both retired at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

Kim finished her volleyball coaching career with a record of 788 wins and 145 losses. She took four different high schools to their state’s state tournament — two in Nebraska and two in Kansas — while winning nine state titles. Twenty-one of her 31 teams made it to state, with 15 of them reaching state finals.

Kim was named four-time 1A coach of the year, the 1999 Kansas Coaches’ Association (KCA) Coach of the Year and the 2000 Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) National Coach of the Year. In 2014, she was inducted into the Kansas Volleyball Association (KVA) Hall of Fame.

Kim’s teams won eight consecutive state titles at Centralia from 1997-2004, which is a state record for all classes in Kansas. The Lady Panthers strung together a streak of 126 straight wins under Kim, which is the second longest volleyball winning streak in state history.

Kimbrook was a head volleyball coach for 20 years, finishing his career with the highest winning percentage in Kansas history at 94 percent. His teams won 95 of 115 tournaments over the course of his career, including 11 state championships and five state runner-ups. Six of Kimbrook’s teams finished the season undefeated, including his Centralia team — his last team — in 2018, which finished with a school record of 47-0.

Kimbrook’s Nemaha Valley Lady Raider teams won six 3A state championships. Under Kimbrook’s direction, the Lady Raiders set the volleyball state record for consecutive wins when they won 137 matches in a row. Those teams also won 220 consecutive regular season matches and finished undefeated five times in his eight years at the helm. Under Kimbrook, Nemaha Valley’s record was 298-3.

Kimbrook finished his career with a record of 791-49 while winning five of the last six 1A state championships. Kimbrook’s record in his last five seasons with the Lady Panthers was 220 wins and five losses.

In Kimbrook’s 10 years coaching basketball at Centralia, the Centralia girl’s team won three state basketball titles, two state runner-ups, and a third place finish. His 14-year basketball career record stands at 307-48 with a third place state finish at Nemaha Valley.

Both Tennals also assisted each other in volleyball and basketball over the course of their careers. They coached a number of sports, including high school track, junior high volleyball and basketball. Kimbrook also coached football and wrestling for awhile.

At the award ceremony, the Tennals, who won a combination of almost 3,000 contests including 23 state championships during their coaching careers, chose to give their acceptance speeches at the same time, passing their speech back and forth in front of a crowd of around 150 people.

John and Denise Showman of South Haven, Donna Lierz and her fiancée, Leland Hill of Winfield, and Gary and Brenda Lierz of Sabetha were in the crowd to support the Tennals.

Eight people were inducted into the 2019 SC Athletic Hall of Fame, including Brad Long, who played Buddy in the movie “Hoosiers.”

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