Alumni Highlight - Kari Shimmin

Courtesy: Ryan Raycraft

Kari Shimmin, the head volleyball coach at Monmouth College (Illinois), received her master’s degree in sport management from Western Illinois in 2000. 

Along with being the head coach, she is also the chair of the Department of Physical Education, and is a senior women administrator in athletics. While working on her master’s degree, she coached and taught physical education at Monmouth. 

Shimmin attended Monmouth College and received her bachelor’s degree in accounting.  After graduation she was a cost accountant at Gates Rubber Company in Knoxville, Ill.  She knew after working there for a year, that she wanted to be a coach.  

Shimmin said, “I hated sitting behind the desk. I would get to work at 6 a.m., finish my required work by 10 a.m. The rest of the day would be spent helping others finish their work. I went in early so I could leave early.”

While she worked at Gates Rubber Company, she also coached volleyball at Union High School (Biggsville, Ill.) and loved doing this. In the summer of 1998, she applied for the Monmouth head volleyball coach position at her undergraduate advisor’s request, and was hired.  She has been there ever since.

Shimmin led her volleyball team to its first conference title last season.  A lot of her success is credited to the people around her. “People at Monmouth College are wonderful to work with, I’ve built great relationships with the players and parents.”

Shimmin is the mother of four young girls, all under the age of 10.  As the head coach and a mother, she tries to limit her time at Monmouth College during the summer months to spend time with her family.

She said, “Monmouth College is located close to where we grew up, so my girls are growing up having a relationship with their grandparents.”

One thing that she wished she would have done during her master’s program was to complete a thesis.  Shimmin is currently weighing her options for pursuing her doctorate degree.

Besides doing a thesis, Shimmin suggested that graduate students should build relationships and take every opportunity to learn. Internships and the diversity of relationships help separate graduate students apart from each other when applying for jobs.

Although being a coach and professor is very stressful for her family and her, Shimmin said, “Besides being a wife and mom, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”