Washington University in St. Louis’ head football coach Larry Kindbom continues to carry the Bears to new heights. Since assuming the head coaching reins in 1989, Kindbom has overhauled the Bears’ gridiron program and has guided Washington University to the upper echelon of Division III football.
After winning a total of 20 games in the 1980s before Kindbom took over, the Bears have since gone 156-95 (.622) with 10 University Athletic Association (UAA) titles and NCAA playoff appearances in 1999 and 2013.
Kindbom ranks fifth in NCAA Division III in winningest active coaches and 18th in Division III history with 184 career victories.
This past season Kindbom led Washington U. to an 8-3 overall record and an appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the first time since 1999 and second time in school history. The Bears also won their 10th UAA Championship with a 3-0 record and ended the season with seven straight wins, their first regular-season seven-game win streak since 1948.
Washington University capped off the most successful decade in team history with one of the most successful seasons in history in 1999. The Bears won their first outright UAA title, posted an 8-3 record and earned the school’s first bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
In 1995, the Bears savored their most successful campaign since 1948, finishing the season with a 9-1 record. Washington U. captured a share of the UAA title in 1994, 1995 and 1996 to go along with the 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2012 and 2013 outright crowns.
With 7-3 records in 1990, 1994, 1996, 2007 and 2010, an 8-3 season in 1999 and 2013, an 8-2 mark in 2001 and his 9-1 mark from 1995, Kindbom is the only coach in school history to have guided nine different Washington University teams to seven or more victories.
As a collegiate athlete, Kindbom lettered four years at Kalamazoo College, a Division III school in Michigan. Then, after serving as an assistant coach at three NCAA Division I institutions, he guided Division III Kenyon College for six successful seasons before moving to Washington University in 1989.
Prior to his six-year stint at Kenyon, the Lancaster, Pa., native served two years as a graduate assistant at Ohio State under Woody Hayes and four years as an assistant coach at the University of Akron. After Akron, Kindbom was handed the coaching reins at Kenyon in 1983, where his first team enjoyed a 5-3-1 record. The following year, Kenyon savored its finest season since 1976, equaling a school record for victories with a 7-3 mark. Kenyon also was nationally ranked in 1984, and rated fifth in the nation for its passing offense.
Besides his resurrection of football at Washington University, Kindbom has played a valuable leadership role in St. Louis, helping found the area’s National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame chapter in 1992. At the organization’s annual banquet in 1994, Kindbom received the Eddie Cochems Award, an inaugural honor given for his contributions to amateur football in the St. Louis area.
Kindbom was presented the 2009 Grant Teaff “Breaking the Silence” Award at the 2010 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention in Orlando, FL., because of his hard work and dedication to the prevention of youth suicide.
Kindbom is on the Board of Advisors for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and is a speaker for the nationally based Character Plus Program. He serves his profession at the national level as a member of the AFCA Ethics Committee.
Kindbom, a former member of the NCAA’s Division III championship selection committee, earned his bachelor of arts degree from Kalamazoo in 1974 with a major in political science and a minor in physical education. He earned a master’s degree in physical education from Western Michigan in 1976, and is a doctoral candidate in physical education (athletic administration) from Ohio State.
Kindbom married the former Kate Webster on July 8, 1989. The couple’s first child, Kelsey Mann, is 21 years old. Kindbom also has two sons, Kevin, 34, and Kyle, 32, and six grandchildren.