Funeral Plans Finalized for Legendary St. Olaf Baseball Coach
Former longtime St. Olaf Baseball Head Coach Jim Dimick, 91, passed away on Monday, December 2, 2019 at the Northfield Retirement Center. The family delayed funeral arrangements and have announced details today through Benson and Langehough Funeral Home in Northfield.
I am proud to be able to call Jim Dimick a friend and I believe virtually every person he contacted was blessed by his presence in this life. He served in World War II with the United States Marines and the 2nd Amphibious Battalion out of Camp Lejeune. Dimick joined after graduating in 1946 from Barron, Wisconsin High School.
Following his honorable discharge in 1948 he attended St. Cloud State University. graduating in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science in physical education and biology. Dimick later earned his Masters Degree from the University of Minnesota.
He married his high school sweetheart Nancy Hopkins at the Methodist Church in Cumberland, Winsconsin June 10, 1950. They had six children. Three boys and three gtirls. Nancy left this life in 2010.
Dimick taught and coached 15 years at high schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota with 10 championship teams before joining the faculty at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Mn. in 1967.
Dimick assisted legendary St. Olaf football Head Coach Tom Porter in addition to his Head Coach of baseball duties. When I began broadcasting St. Olaf games with Mike Morrissey, Dimick was the Defensive Coordinator. He always told Mike and I about the conversations he would have with Porter about which side of the ball players would play. Both agreeing "most of the time" the better athletes would be placed on defense.
The accolades are many for his baseball coaching abilities. I have visited with many of his former players and all expressed admiration for their "Coach."
I was lucky enough to hear him speak at a few baseball banquets over the years including the Faribault American Legion team. Dimick was a terrific story teller. His explanation of his love of baseball was like poetry. The fact Major League Baseball was trying all sorts of things to shorten the game made "Dimmer" a little upset because it was one of the reasons he loved the sport.
No clock in his mind was good thing adding to the beauty of the sport. "You can't sit on a lead or stall. You must record all 27 outs in order for the game to end."
I can hear his voice saying that as I write this and see his great smile.
Last Saturday I called the Carleton against St. Olaf doubleheader basketball contests at St. Olaf and mentioned to Public Address Announcer for the Men's game Kurt Anderson how I missed visiting with Dimmer before the game. Anderson was an assistant under Dimick for a few years and said he really enjoyed those years coaching together.
Under his leadership St. Olaf won 14 conference championships. The Oles were selected to the NCAA Dvision III Regional Tournament 14 times. Jim Dimick was the coach of the College All-Star Baseball Team that toured Alaska and Korea in 1979. He was on the U.S. National Baseball Team staff in 1989 on a tour of the United States, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Jim conducted baseball clinics all over the world. He was a past president of the American Baseball Coaches Association and served on it's Board of Directors for many years.
Dimick was awarded the Minnesota Baseball Outstanding Achievement Award. The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has named the conference Coach of the Year in his honor and the Minnesota Baseball Coaches Association the Minnesota Retired Coach Award is also named in his honor,
St. Olaf retired his #32 in 1997. Jim Dimick's record at St. Olaf was 587-320-15.
A true gentleman in every sense of the word, and devoted Christian who didn't just talk the talk but walked the walk. He was a member of Bethel Lutheran Church in Northfield for 52 years.
Upon his retirement Dimick put it this way, "I would rather be remembered as a good father, a good churchman, and a caring coach who was more concerned about the contributions to society by my athletes than by the trophies left standing on the shelves."
A gathering of rememberance will occur in the Black and Gold Ballroom of Buntrock Commons at St. Olaf on Friday, January 17, 2020 between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
A celebration of Jim's life will be held Saturday, January 18, 2020 at Boe Chapel on the St. Olaf College campus at 10:00 a.m. Interment takes place at Ebenezer Cemetery in rural Almena, Wisconsin, next to Nancy, in the spring. Memorials may be directred to Bethel Lutheran Church Northfield, Mn. or the St. Olaf College baseball program.
On the back of a t-shirt St. Olaf players revealed at Dimick's retirement was a quote he used often when speaking to his student athletes. "Ask yourself, is the world a better place because you were here?" Under those words it states, "Our world is....Coach."
I couldn't say it any better than that.