Sy Kimball with Chris Hoke at Pregame Briefing
Sy Kimball’s love for BYU began in 1941 after he received a scholarship to play quarterback for the football team. However, shortly after the season started, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and that ended Sy’s football career; he enlisted in the navy and proudly defended our country in World War II.
Sy also met his lovely wife, Bette, here at BYU; their love for each other, for their family, and for Brigham Young University has now grown and flourished over decades.
Sy’s first donation to the Cougar Club on the invitation of Glen Tuckett. The Kimballs donated property, the sale of which provided BYU the opportunity to build what is now one of the America’s best collegiate sporting facilities. Long before Gail and Larry Millers’ involvement, the Kimballs laid the foundation for Miller Field, the home of BYU Baseball and Softball. Sy continues to have great relationships with the many individuals in every aspect of the athletic department, and he loves to get involved.
Sy’s favorite memory of BYU Football is LaVell Edwards’ last game at Utah. He was thrilled to see BYU come back from brink of defeat to win that game. After the contest, Sy made his way down onto the field, intending to give his congratulations to Coach Edwards.
While looking for LaVell, Sy saw Utah’s Coach, Ron McBride, and approached him. He shook RonMcBride’s hand and said congenially, “Coach, it was sure nice of you to let LaVell win tonight.” The words Coach McBride used in response can’t be repeated here; however, Utah’s former coach made it very clear that Coach McBride did not let LaVell win.
Two years ago at the Mountain West Basketball Tournament, Sy was sitting behind BYU President Cecil Samuelson. Concerned with continuing the success of BYU’s football and men’s basketball teams, particular in terms of keeping our two outstanding head coaches, he presented the president with a plan to subsidize the BYU coaches’ salaries.
Sy’s idea was to enlist 400 donors to give $25,000 each, creating a $10-million fund dedicated to attracting and retaining the best coaches at BYU. What Sy penciled out on a napkin between games at a basketball tournament became the Coaches’ Circle Program.
Sy was the first Coaches’ Circle donor to commit $25,000 and has since committed many, many others to follow his example. By year’s end BYU plans to have more than 150 Coaches’ Circle members and more than $1,000,000 raised to ensure that BYU attracts and keeps the best coaches possible.
At this Homecoming Football Game it is our privilege to honor Sy Kimball, and the entire Kimball Family, for their decades of service and generosity to BYU Athletics and for all they have done to make Brigham Young University a place we all love to come home to.