05/02/2024 McMurry News Obituary

Hershel Kimbrell

Hershel Kimbrell

McMurry University is deeply saddened by the loss of McMurry alumnus and coaching legend Hershel Kimbrell. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends, family, and loved ones.

Hershel Kimbrell ’50 was McMurry’s longest running and winningest basketball coach, serving from 1959 to 1990. Under Kimbrell, the men’s basketball team won the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (TIAA) title every year but one between 1978 and 1988, advanced to the postseason playoffs 16 times, and competed in the NAIA national tournament in 1962. In 1987, he won his 400th game as a college coach and retired in 1990 with 448 wins.

Kimbrell also served as an assistant football coach for McMurry in 1959 and was named athletic director in 1968. Hunt P.E. Center was constructed while Kimbrell was the athletic director. He also coached McMurry golf from 1990 to 1995, leading him to a 45-year coaching career.

Hershel Kimbrell’s contributions to McMurry University have been recognized and celebrated. In 1984, he became a charter member of the McMurry Athletic Hall of Honor, a testament to his outstanding career. The following year, he was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, further solidifying his status as a revered coach. The Hershel and Georgia Kimbrell Scholarship, established in 1987, is a legacy of his impact on countless McMurry students. In 1995, McMurry University bestowed upon him the title of Distinguished Alumni and named the Kimbrell Arena in his honor, a fitting tribute to his legacy. In 2023, Kimbrell was honored as one of the McMurry 100, a prestigious list naming the most influential people in McMurry’s 100-year history.

Kimbrell’s connection to McMurry University extended beyond his coaching career. His late wife, daughter, and son graduated from McMurry, a testament to their family’s deep-rooted ties to the institution. His son, Kit, continued the family legacy by serving as McMurry’s radio play-by-play and color commentator for many years. His legacy lives on through his family and the countless lives he touched during his coaching career.

Author Caleb Pirtle III published a biography of his career, Never Afraid, Never A Doubt: The Legacy of Hershel Kimbrell, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach, in 2021.

Funeral Arrangements


Nicholas Ocheltree, Director of Integrated Communications