I knew coaching wasn’t for me, but I wanted to have an impact on the lives of student athletes and be able to help them and mentor them in any way possible.
When Kim Bishop swam for Mizzou from 1997-2001, Natatorium Pool sat on the corner of Rollins and Maryland. Two decades later, the state-of-the art Mizzou Aquatic Center sits two blocks away from the old location but one constant remains: Bishop’s key involvement with the Mizzou swimming and diving program and Mizzou Athletics as a whole.
As the Associate Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Development, Kim Bishop helps athletes develop their leadership skills, personal goals and career ideas. It’s a position that Bishop believes to be the best in the athletic department.
“I knew coaching wasn’t for me, but I wanted to have an impact on the lives of student athletes and be able to help them and mentor them in any way possible,” Bishop said.
Bishop and her sister, Kristin, started swimming at a young age when they grew up in Houston, Texas. Bishop said that swimming was the only sport that came naturally to her.
“I’m your typical fish out of water- not coordinated in any other sport,” Bishop said. “I tried gymnastics and softball, but nothing clicked like swimming.”
With a father in chemical sales, Bishop moved from Houston to Tulsa to St. Louis. Bishop said her confidence in the pool was helpful in making new friends.
“Swimming was always the constant in my life. It was always the quickest way to make friends and make a new place feel like home,” Bishop said.
Bishop spent her last two years of high school in Missouri, where she started exploring collegiate swim programs. With an older sister at Mizzou, Bishop wanted to do her own thing by not going to the same school. She looked at swimming at Drury, Bradley and Miami of Ohio.
Bishop told herself she wouldn’t go to Mizzou, but the moment she visited, she fell in love. Looking back, Bishop said she had the best college career she could have asked for.
Bishop competed in the 50 and 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and sprint relays from 1997 to 2001. During her time as an athlete, Mizzou swim and dive shattered records by entering the top 25 and defeating Nebraska and Kansas for the first time.
Experiencing the ups and downs of college and traveling for meets rank among her favorite memories, but Bishop said that her favorite memories were with her teammates in the pool.
Overall Bishop enjoyed “overcoming challenges, upsetting teams and doing things the team had never done.”
Bishop received her undergraduate degree in Communication. She served as the District Director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association for a year before returning to MU to earn her Master’s degree in Student Affairs. Bishop received a graduate assistant position with former executive associate athletic director Bryan Maggard.
Prior to graduating, she served full-time as the academic coordinator for swimming and diving, gymnastics, tennis and baseball.
In 2007, she became the Director of Student-Athlete Development. Bishop said she felt like she was in the right place at the right time.
“Mizzou has always been very good to me,” Bishop said. “I was able to transition into that role and have grown into that role ever since.”
In 2010, Bishop was promoted as Assistant Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Development and, in 2011, Associate Athletic Director for Student Athlete Development.
Bishop said she looks forward to finding new ways to challenge herself and help her student athletes grow. Once a young tiger swimming laps at the pool on the corner of Rollins and Maryland, Bishop doesn’t plan on leaving Mizzou Athletics anytime soon.
“I don't have this large vision of becoming an athletic director; that's not really in my future,” Bishop said, “but continuing to find innovative creative ways to impact our student athletes in a positive way is really what I'm excited about.”
Mizzou has always been very good to me. I was able to transition into that role and have grown into that role ever since.
What does it mean to be #MizzouMade? That moniker has been a staple for Mizzou student-athletes for years. It is often associated with athletes who have excelled at the highest levels of their respective sports, but the true meaning runs much deeper.
While there are certainly examples of former Tigers excelling in professional athletics, there is a much larger contingent of Mizzou student-athletes thriving in today’s fast-paced, competitive work environment. What each of those student-athletes learned at Mizzou has prepared them for life beyond sports.
The mission of Mizzou Athletics remains to prepare champions for life through a personal enhancement model that emphasizes academic and athletic excellence, social responsibility, career development and leadership in order to help each student athlete become a prepared professional in any field upon earning their degree.
#MizzouMade Monday aims to tell those stories of student athletes who are bringing those values and ideals of Mizzou into the real world every day.