KENOSHA, Wis. – The new multipurpose indoor turf center in the Sports & Activity Center at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside will be dedicated as the Rick Kilps Center, Director of Athletics Andrew Gavin announced on Monday. The facility name honors the legendary Rick Kilps, a 1975 graduate that served the University for more than 25 years in various roles, most notably as the head men’s soccer coach.
Kilps led the men’s soccer program at his alma mater from 1984-2010, accumulating a staggering record of 363-135-40 and 26 consecutive winning seasons. The Rangers achieved significant conference and national success, including an amazing run to the 1984 NAIA National Championships in his first season and four subsequent appearances in the NCAA Division II Championships.
When he returned to campus in 1984, Kilps served as the head athletic trainer until 1998 and also worked as an associate professor.
“The Rick Kilps Center is a fitting name for this transformational facility,” Gavin said. “We’re thrilled to honor the legacy of Coach Kilps, not only because of his unbelievable record of competitive success leading our men’s soccer program, but also the hundreds of young men that he coached and mentored on and off the pitch.”
Kilps, a 2012 inductee into the Parkside Athletics Hall of Fame, coached 17 players and four teams that have now been inducted into the hall of fame. Under his coaching, men’s soccer players earned 37 All-American honors. In 2005, Kilps was inducted into the Wisconsin Soccer Association Hall of Fame.
“It is completely humbling and absolutely unexpected to be honored in this way by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the athletics department,” Kilps said. “The accomplishments we – the men’s soccer teams – achieved were due to all of the student-athletes who worked so hard and were committed to being successful. It did not occur by chance. While the achievements on the field were plenty, the greatest achievements are those made by the alums off the field, in the workplace, in their communities and with their families. I am proud to have been a part of their experience and who they are today. I sincerely appreciate them and all the memories we made.”
One of the most transformational aspects of RangerVision 2020, the Kilps Center will repurpose the space previously used as a pool, now providing a first-class venue for Parkside Athletics, campus, and community use.
The facility will be an immediate game-changer for Parkside Athletics, providing a state-of-the-art practice facility for baseball, softball, men’s soccer, and women’s soccer. These student-athletes – who regularly feel the adverse effects of the Wisconsin winters and are routinely forced off campus for practice – will have a training center just steps from their locker rooms.
“I can think of no better way to honor Coach Rick Kilps, what he has given to Parkside, and what he has meant to our campus community while at the same time emphasizing the importance of these critical RangerVision 2020 projects for our student-athletes and our entire Parkside family,” said Chancellor Debbie Ford.
The construction on the Rick Kilps Center is nearing the finish line, and Parkside Athletics is raising funds to complete the state-of-the-art facility as part of RangerVision 2020. For more information on the facility and the fundraising efforts, please visit ParksideRangers.com/RangerVision2020 and the Turf Center Challenge on Give Campus.
Jason Zitzke ’99, Head Men’s Soccer Coach and Parkside Hall of Famer: I was extremely fortunate to not only play for Coach Kilps but also work as his assistant for 12 years. I got to see firsthand his commitment and dedication to the men’s soccer team the athletics department and the University. I saw a common theme in the way he ran his program. His players won on the field, they were successful in the classroom, and upon graduation became leaders of their professions and in their communities. In addition to his role at Parkside, he has donated countless hours as a youth coach, running soccer camps and clinics and helping run various State and National soccer committees, not to mention mentoring young coaches like myself. In all of these endeavors, he has been and continues to be an ambassador of the game of soccer. For myself and the thousands of individuals he reached through the game, it would be impossible to put into words the impact he has had on our lives. Like Rick Kilps, the new turf center facility will allow Ranger student-athletes to hone their skills while chasing their dreams, and at the same time welcome visitors from the local community and beyond to experience and enjoy our campus.”
Steve “Rocky” Donovan ’89, RangerVision 2020 Steering Committee chair and member of the 1984 Hall of Fame men’s soccer team: “I was fortunate to be part of the 1984 team, which was Rick’s first year as coach, and this is a well-deserved honor. Coach Kilps was the driving force behind the men’s soccer program for over 25 years and did much to advance UWP over the years…congratulations.”
Stan Anderson ’92, Parkside Hall of Famer: “What I see happening at Parkside is growth and movement and forward-thinking. To know that Parkside is honoring Coach Kilps, who changed my life, is awesome! Yes, this facility changes the way Parkside can recruit and train and more, and it also changes Coach Kilps’ life by leaving a legacy to a man that gave his life to UWP. I can’t wait for him to walk into the Rick Kilps Center and smile!”
Tom Krimmel ’72, Former UW-Parkside Associate Vice Chancellor: “Our friendship started as students at Parkside in the early 70’s and continued as our careers took us back to our alma mater in the ’80s. It was exciting to see Rick lead our soccer program for decades and for his players to achieve success both on the field and as alumni. My wife Beth and I are thrilled to see UW-Parkside honor his achievements and to be able to support his legacy with our financial contribution to the Rick Kilps Center.”
Dr. Jeffrey Medin ’85, member of the 1984 Hall of Fame men’s soccer team: “I’m very happy to be supporting this Rick Kilps Center. This is a well-deserved honor. I’m sure it will greatly impact students and the community alike.”