Daniel Stimson spent more than two decades making student-athletes laugh in a myriad of ways. At a memorial on Saturday, a community that grew around Stimson gathered to remember their late coach.
Stimson died Oct. 17 of natural causes. He spent 25 years as the College of William and Mary’s track and field director before health issues forced him away from the job in 2011.
Clare Stimson said even as his father struggled with medical issues in the final years of his life, he tried dutifully not to pass on his pains to visitors or to his immediate family.
“My father fought the good fight,” he said. “It’s an impossible task to put into words what he meant to his family and all you former athletes.”
Former shot putter Chris Parsons credited Stimson for bringing him to William and Mary.
Without coach Stimson convincing him to choose the university, Parson said he wouldn’t have his wife, their kids, or his profession. Stimson was a jovial man who genuinely cared about his athletes outside of their track and field prowess, he said.
“He cared about love, and he cared about you being happy,” Parsons said.
As a track and field coach at Virginia Beach’s Kempsville High School, James Broderick sent runners to colleges and universities around the country.
Broderick and Stimson are both native New Yorkers, and he said he’d heard Stimson’s name even back to the early 1990s.
“That was the type of impact he had,” Broderick said of Stimson’s stamp on track and field in the Northeast. “When he first gave me a call, I was basically in awe that a man like that would call me.”
Stimson carried another distinction that Broderick mentioned at length during the memorial. He was the only college coach to call and update Broderick on how his former athletes were doing at a higher level.
“He blew my mind. None do that,” he said. “ He was the only one. That speaks volumes, that he would call to keep me updated, about my athletes.”
Wright can be reached by phone at 757-345-2343.