OSHKOSH – The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will be in uncharted waters Friday. For the first time in 37 years, the school will be in need of a sports information director.
That’s because Kennan Timm, the Titans’ longtime SID, will be entering retirement, although the official day is set for June 30.
Timm was hired in August 1985 and has overseen publicizing one of NCAA Division III’s most successful programs since that time. UW-Oshkosh teams earned more than 30 national championships during his tenure.
“It’s truly been an honor to play a part, although small, in helping make the UW-Oshkosh athletics program something special,” Timm said. “I’ve had a tremendous run in the sports information profession and been totally blessed to have had the opportunity to work alongside a fantastic group of administrators, coaches, support staff, student-athletes, community members and alumni throughout the years. My career brought me friendships, passion, laughter and opportunities, and memories that will last the remainder of my lifetime.”
Timm began his sports information career as a student assistant at UW-La Crosse in 1981, was named the school’s sports information director in 1982 and served in that capacity the following two years.
During his tenure at UW-La Crosse, the Eagles won four national championships. Timm’s 40-year association with the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, from his time at UW-Oshkosh and UW-La Crosse, is one of the longest in league history.
Timm, a graduate of UW-La Crosse, was inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 2012 and the UW-Oshkosh Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021. He was also named the winner of CoSIDA’s prestigious Warren Berg Award in 2009.
The Oshkosh West High School graduate was a member of the wrestling media relations staff at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and worked as a radio/television spotter in the press box for the Green Bay Packers during preseason and regular-season games from 1993 to 1997. Timm was the official statistician for the Wisconsin High School All-Star Football Classic at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium from 1985 to 2021 and the official scorer for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state baseball tournament in Appleton from 1998 to 2020.
Timm answered questions from USA Today Network-Wisconsin about his time at UW-Oshkosh, and the impact the athletes and teams have had on his life.
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What will you remember most about your time at UW-Oshkosh?
The opportunity I had to coordinate the publicity for and be a member of one of the most successful athletics programs in NCAA Division III history. UW-Oshkosh won 35 national and 120 conference titles during my 37-year tenure.
Being the SID, you were the jack of all trades. Of all the things you’ve been tasked with, what was your favorite duty at UW-Oshkosh?
I truly enjoyed hosting postseason events. During my career at UW-Oshkosh, I was fortunate to be the host sports information director for the finals of 31 NCAA Division III championships as well as nearly 50 Division III regional tournaments.
I also enjoyed being the chair for the Final Four Extravaganza Party that UW-Oshkosh hosted from 1992 to 2019. The event I created raised nearly $300,000 for UW-Oshkosh athletics.
What is your favorite memory at UW-Oshkosh?
There have been many, both individually and as a team. But some of the ones that quickly come to mind are:
Individually: Tim Jorgensen hitting the home run cycle during a victory over UW-Eau Claire in the championship game of the 1995 WIAC baseball tournament; Tim Dworak sinking the game-winning 3-point basket at the buzzer against UW-Whitewater in the championship game of the 2002 WIAC men’s basketball tournament; Jolanda Aalbers scoring six goals during a women’s soccer victory over UW-River Falls in 2000; Brett Kasper throwing six touchdown passes during a football victory over North Central College in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Championship.
Team: Playing before 4,001 fans in Kolf Sports Center, UW-Oshkosh concluded a 31-0 season with a 66-50 victory over University of Mount Union in the final of the Division III Women’s Basketball Championship; UW-Oshkosh playing Chapman University in front of 3,868 fans at Fox Cities Stadium in the first round of the 2003 Division III Baseball Championship; UW-Oshkosh playing University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in the final of the 2016 Division III Football Championship; UW-Oshkosh defeating Swarthmore College in the final of the 2019 Division III Men’s Basketball Championship; UW-Oshkosh sweeping the 2022 WIAC indoor and outdoor men’s track and field titles.
Who was your favorite athlete, whether it was at UW-La Crosse or UW-Oshkosh, that you enjoyed watching the most and why?
There have been many, but some of the student-athletes who quickly come to mind are:
Tori Neubauer (cross country/track and field) and Tom Newberry (football/track & field) from UW-La Crosse, and Jolanda Aalbers (soccer), Ben Boots (basketball), Christy Cazzola (cross country/track and field), Chris DeLarwelle (baseball), Tim Dworak (basketball), Dylan Hecker (football), Jeremy Jirschele (baseball), Terry Jorgensen (baseball), Tim Jorgensen (baseball), Nazar Kulchytskyy (wrestling), Brett Kasper (football), Mary Leivian (gymnastics), Craig Lieder (baseball), Jarrett Lieder (swimming and diving), Melissa Mueller (track and field), Leah Porath (basketball), Dennis Ruedinger (basketball), Todd Schoelzel (football), Ronessa Stampfli (softball), Jack Taschner (baseball), Whitney Tornow (softball), Nate Wara (football), Wendy Wangerin (basketball), Amy Ward (volleyball) and Jarrod Washburn (baseball) from UW-Oshkosh.
Each of them, along with hundreds of others, worked extremely hard, competed at a high level and enjoyed a great deal of success. They were enjoyable to watch.
You have worked with several talented coaches through the years. Who was your favorite and why?
I really don’t want to single out any coach, but I had the opportunity to work with several talented coaches throughout my career, both at UW-La Crosse and UW-Oshkosh. All of them were genuine and humble leaders who focused on building a team culture and helping their student-athlete achieve more than they ever thought they were capable of accomplishing. The enthusiasm these coaches displayed was contagious and made me want to help them in their quest for winning conference and national championships anyway I could.
Of all the tournaments you’ve had to help coordinate through the years, did you have a favorite among them and, if so, why?
Following the retirement of UW-Oshkosh director of athletics Allen Ackerman in 2010, I became the local committee chair for the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship that was held at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton from 2000 to 2018. I wore many hats during that 19-year period and thanks to the help of numerous volunteers and staff members from Lawrence University, UW-Oshkosh, the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, we were able to provide an extremely positive championship experience, an ever-lasting memory, and a favorable impression of the Fox Valley and the state of Wisconsin to our visitors.
You’ve seen a lot of changes through the years, whether it be with the media, social media, the WIAC or the NCAA, which has been the most challenging for you and why?
The two major changes during my time in the sports information profession has been the advent of the Internet and the arrival of social media. I can say without hesitation that both have brought a lot of work and a lot of proofreaders into my world.
Is there anything you wish you could change during your tenure at UW-Oshkosh?
I would change our 31 NCAA Division III second-place finishes into national championships and find a way for us to bring our baseball, football, soccer, softball and track and field venues from across the river to campus.
What do you see as the future of collegiate sports?
Collegiate sports, regardless of the level of competition, will always be a staple in our society. NCAA Division I and Division II members are going through some issues right now, but the future of Division III athletics is extremely bright thanks to the nearly 200,000 student-athletes who compete on an annual basis and are fueled by the unwavering passion they have for their institution and their respective sport.
What is next for Kennan Timm?
I don’t have any immediate retirement plans, but I’m excited about the opportunity of spending more time and traveling the unknown road ahead with my wife, Janis; daughter, Jennifer; and son, Cory. My involvement with the UW-Oshkosh Athletics Hall of Fame will continue as will my addiction for following the results of the Titans closely.