Kim Clarkson started instructing as a 9th grader at Boise High School in Idaho by demonstrating to her classmates how to safely perform on a trampoline. Just the beginning of an incredible teaching and coaching career.
Charles Clarkson, her dad, was a teacher and a head swim and football coach and mom Ann was a nurse. So it probably was destined that daughter Kim would carve out a career serving others. That she decided to follow in her father's footsteps has been a blessing to the students and student-athletes of Salem-Keizer.
Known to her Salem-Keizer community as Kim Phillips, she grew up in Boise, Idaho. Phillips was a multi-sport athlete, lettering in volleyball, basketball, and tennis. But swimming, the sport at which she would later excel in college and as a coach, didn't exist in the high school. As a result, her excellence in the pool occurred via the swim program at the Boise YMCA. In 1976 she was named the Jane Nelson Memorial Award winner for character and commitment. In 2010 she was inducted into the Boise YMCA Hall of Fame. As a senior in high school Phillips started her coaching career when she became a head coach in the City of Boise swim program.
Phillips moved from Boise High to Willamette University in 1976 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education in 1980. (The 1978-79 school year was spent in England as an exchange student at Ripon and York at St. John.) She played softball for the Bearcats in '78 but it was in the pool where she excelled. Phillips was a swim All-American in both 1978 and '80. (In 1985 she went on to receive her Master of Education degree from Lewis and Clark College.)
Kim Phillips spent 34 years as a physical education teacher and coach at McNary High School. Personal Fitness, Step Aerobics, and Weight Training for Women were classes that she helped develop during her tenure. Known for her use of “best practices” and her rapport with students, she was always a popular request for incoming student teachers hoping to join the teaching profession.
While she coached volleyball from '82–'87, it was girls golf from '94–'11 (18 seasons) and swimming from '80 – '14 (34 seasons) where she became one of the best coaches in Salem-Keizer history. She wrapped up her coaching career as the head swim coach at the Mid-Valley Aquatics Swim Club.
Phillips was an athletic director’s "dream coach". Her teams always had fun, were well-versed in fundamentals, disciplined, and were very successful. With a purposeful approach to coaching, Phillips practices were rigorous, structured, focused, and positive. Encouragement from the coach to her athletes was the norm. Lots of smiles from the participants. The epitome of a player’s coach.
Besides being awarded numerous coach of the year awards for swimming and golf, Phillips was awarded the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Section 8 (encompassing Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming) Swim Coach of the Year. She was also honored in 2012 by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce as one of Keizer's First Citizens for Service to Education.
Phillips coached notable swimmers Seth and Martin Pepper – an NCAA champion and qualifier for the Olympic trials and an NCAA champion, respectfully, Jake Palmer – a state champion, and Amber Boucher who participated in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. On the golf side, Phillips coached two state champions – Jerilyn White and Rebecca Kim.
Phillips' husband Ken is a retired administrator, teacher, and coach, daughter Katie is a teacher, and daughter Kristin is an educator and aspiring teacher.
"My philosophy has always been to learn how to win or lose graciously, have fun while competing and learning life long lessons, and in 20 years look back and remember the fun times. I hope they take away my enthusiasm for the sport and learn how to be respectful to other people." Kim Phillips