Jim Dimick, who coached baseball at St. Olaf College in Northfield for 27 seasons, was “one of the icons of the game in our state,” according to University of Minnesota baseball coach John Anderson.
Dimick coached the Oles from 1968 through 1994. His teams won 14 conference titles and reached the NCAA Division III playoffs 14 times. Dimick directed the Oles to a 587-320-15 record (.645 winning percentage) and had just one losing season.
Dimick was named the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Coach of the Year four times (1984, 1985, 1988, 1989).
Dimick died on Dec. 2 at the Northfield Retirement Center. He was 91.
“It’s not just about wins and losses,” said Anderson, “but the values he taught his teams. His teams were well-coached and classy. I got to know him through [former University of Minnesota coach] Dick Siebert, when I was a young coach. He was very supportive of me.”
Dimick was also respected nationally. During his St. Olaf tenure, he served as the president of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), a national organization open to coaches of all levels of amateur baseball. He also served as a member of the ABCA board of directors, the ABCA Hall of Fame Committee and the ABCA Ethics in Coaching Committee.
“Being named president of the ABCA spoke volumes to Jim’s integrity, character and the person he was,” Anderson said. “He was so well respected, not just because he was a good baseball coach but because of the type of person he was.”
While at St. Olaf, Dimick served as the coach of a college All-Star baseball team that toured Alaska and Korea in 1979 and served on the staff of the U.S. National Baseball Team in 1989.
Current St. Olaf baseball coach Matt McDonald, who played for Dimick at St. Olaf and replaced him as coach when Dimick retired, said, “Coach Dimick was a fantastic communicator, teacher of the game and an incredible relationship builder. He taught us how to win and lose with respect and compete as hard as we could until the last out of the game, no matter the score. He modeled a life of integrity and high character for all of us to witness.”
Dimick was born on July 9, 1928, to Richard and Florence Dimick on their family farm in Almena, Wis. After graduating from Barron (Wis.) High School in 1946, he served two years in the U.S. Marines. Following an honorable discharge, he attended St. Cloud State and graduated in 1952 with a bachelor of science in physical education and biology.
After earning a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, Dimick coached football and baseball at Cumberland (Wis.) High School and Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights before joining the faculty of St. Olaf in 1967.
During his time at St. Olaf, Dimick also served as an assistant coach on the Oles football and men’s basketball teams. Dimick is a member of six halls of fame — ABCA, St. Olaf Athletics, Minnesota Baseball Coaches, St. Cloud State, Cumberland (Wis.) High School and Minnesota Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Hall of Faith.
Dimick is survived by daughters Mary Clausen of Moorhead, Betsey Hofeldt of Dayton, Ohio, and Jill Oliveri of St. Paul; sons Jim Jr. of Minneapolis, Dan of Northfield and John of Northfield; 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His wife of 60 years, Nan, died in 2010.
A memorial will be held at Buntrock Commons on the St. Olaf campus on Jan. 17. A celebration of Dimick’s life will be held on Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. at St. Olaf’s Boe Chapel.