Apparently, you can go home again. Longtime Springfield Catholic girls’ soccer head coach Dr. Ben Timson is living proof of that.
Two years after stepping down as head coach at Springfield Catholic – due in part to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic – Timson returned to the sidelines this season and led the Fightin’ Irish…
Timson has carved out a coaching career of success and excellence in his 23 seasons at Springfield Catholic, leading the Irish to 18 district titles, 11 (12) Final Fours and state championships in 2010 and 2011.
He did all of this while serving as a professor in the Biomedical Science Department at Missouri State. For his coaching success and dedication to his athletes, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Timson as a member of its Class of 2023.
Timson, now retired from Missouri State, gives credit to his players and the Springfield Catholic School community for his continued success and his desire to return to coaching after a short break.
“The young women that went through the program over those two plus decades were remarkably dedicated to the sport and to each other,” he said. “They grew up together in the Catholic grade school system and knew each other from the time they were very young. They loved playing the game and worked hard at it. But, more importantly, they enjoyed being with each other, which made practices and games a joy for me.”
If you looked a Missouri map of girls soccer powers and dropped a pin in the location of each respective high school, the Kansas City and St. Louis metro areas would have more than their fair share of pins. There would only one pin in southwest Missouri, and it would sit firmly in the middle of the Springfield Catholic School campus. While Timson obviously has a lot to do with that, he is quick to give credit to the outstanding youth programs in the city.
“Our success has been greatly aided by the Springfield club system which came of age during the early years of our program and became stronger over time and remains so today,” Timson said. “The girls began playing in that system at an early age and by the time they arrived at the high school they were highly trained in the technical and tactical aspects of the game.”
After years of getting close, Timson and Springfield Catholic finally broke through for the program’s first state championship in 2010. Another followed in 2011, and both titles came in the midst of a 7-year final four run.
“The first championship came on our fifth trip to the final four and was one the girls had dedicated themselves to winning every day for the previous year after we lost in the 2009 semifinals,” Timson said. “The next year we had much the same team plus the addition of two fabulous freshmen. We were expected to repeat, and we did. The only emotion I had after that one was relief as we were expected to win.”
Through all the winning, Timson kept bouncing-back-and-forth between his duties at Missouri State and his obligation to the soccer team at Springfield Catholic. It wasn’t easy, but his family helped him through it.
“The biggest challenge was shifting gears between working with college students to working with high school students on a soccer field,” Timson said. “My wife, Kathy, and I raised three daughters during the early years of my coaching career and through them I came to better understand the differences between the off field and/or out of classroom issues both high school and college students experience.”
When you’ve coached for nearly 25 years, it’s easy to think of certain key memories and their importance on your journey.
“I love the game and I love the competition,” Timson said. “There are so many moments, both of great joy and great sorrow associated with the game itself. But the moments that stand out the most to me are those when I had the opportunity to talk with the young women about their dreams for their future.”
Despite his successes, Timson is surprised to receive this latest honor.
“I have never thought of myself as someone who belongs in a Hall of Fame alongside the individuals who have been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame,” he said. “I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive this recognition.”