Here’s an excerpt from today’s New York Times. I think it really captures what Jim is about . It makes me count my blessing that I am able to work with people like this.
New York Times February 25, 2009
Coach Keeps Truths and Swim Titles Flowing
By KAREN CROUSE
GAMBIER, Ohio – A two-lane highway that accommodates Amish buggies and cuts through the farmland of central Ohio may be the road to success. One day last spring, Ohio State’s football coach, Jim Tressel, made the hour-long drive from Columbus to learn from the coach Jim Steen, whose Kenyon College swimmers have won 47 N.C.A.A. Division III men’s and women’s team titles.
Tressel, who has guided the Buckeyes to five Big Ten titles and three Bowl Championship Series title games in eight seasons, sat in Steen’s office and scribbled pages of notes one afternoon as Steen shared his philosophies.
“Jim is one of the most intriguing people I’ve ever met,” Tressel said recently by telephone.
Steen, 60, bears a resemblance to the actor John Lithgow and stars as Kenyon’s version of the absentminded professor. He is 6 feet 5 inches but walks with a slouch, as if he cannot bear to tower over others. His work attire is shorts and flip-flops, but he exudes a formality that is rooted in good manners.
During the season, which runs from September through March, Steen frequently misplaces his cellphone or his eyeglasses, and he often forgets to eat. But his focus on his swimmers is so keen, it cuts through the chlorine haze of their lives.