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Faculty Spotlight

Dixie Grimmett

Dixie Grimmett

Professor Emerita Kinesiology (1964-2010)


What years did you work at CSULB? How did you end up teaching at CSULB?

I started in 1964 and retired in 2010.  I came to CSULB because I wanted to have an opportunity to coach  women’s sports—specifically volleyball and basketball. California was one of the leaders in developing collegiate women’s competitive sports and I wanted to take advantage of those opportunities.

Could you describe your experience at CSULB?

My first year at LB was difficult, as I was very homesick for my family, friends, and the Utah Mountains.  After the first year I settled in and got very invested in my teaching and the opportunities at LB.  I taught a variety of classes—major and general activity classes and was in charge of Campus Intramurals.  


In the mid-sixties, Women’s Collegiate Athletics began to expand and I was fortunate to be very involved in the organization of competitive leagues in Southern California.   As the leagues were organized I had the opportunity to begin my coaching career, serving as the assistant women’s Basketball and Volleyball coach.  In addition I coached our first women’s gymnastics team for 3 years.  I remained the assistant coach for Women's Basketball until 1980.  I became the head coach for the Women's Volleyball team in fall of 1971 and continued in that role until 1984.  One of the highlights of my coaching career was winning back-to-back Women’s Collegiate Volleyball Championships—1972 and 1973.


My coaching responsibilities were only 30%-50% of my assignment each semester and the remainder of my load was teaching and student teacher supervision.  I taught a variety of required major courses including skills development, sport analysis and lecture classes.  As I phased out of coaching in the early 80’s I became a full time teacher and/or administrator.   I taught both undergraduate and graduate classes and had supervision responsibilities.  From 1991 to 2000 I served as Chair of the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS).  During this time, every building in the College went through a complete renovation. All of the buildings had to be emptied and alternate facilities had to be utilized.  At the same time the renovation was taking place we broke ground for a new teaching/activity facility—The Pyramid.  As Department Chair I was very involved during the building of the Pyramid attending weekly meetings to discuss progress and changes for the project.


At the end of my ninth year as Department Chair (spring 2000) I retired and entered the “Faculty Early Retirement Program”.   My retirement did not last long, as I was recruited by the new Dean for the CHHS to come out of retirement and serve as the Associate Dean for the CHHS.  I served as the Associate Dean for three years and then the University President, Robert Maxson asked me to take the position of Executive Assistant to the President.  I served one year in this position with President Maxson, (who then retired) and served a year and a half with the new President, King Alexander.  In order for me to have the time to have double knee replacement I once again entered into the Faculty Early Retirement Program.   This meant I would only have to work half time and the half time position was to serve as the NCAA Representative for the Campus.

After one year in FERP I was asked by the Provost to serve as the Interim Dean for the CHHS while they searched for a new dean.  I accepted and once again returned to a full time position.  I served as the Interim Dean for the CHHS for a year and a half.  My last and final retirement was in August of 2010.

What were some of your most memorable moments at CSULB?

- In the early years, attending 49’er Days on the north end of the campus was great fun.  It was like one big county fair with loads of booths, games, and lots of food.  It was a major campus & community event.


- Winning back to back National Women’s Collegiate Volleyball Championships in 1972 and 1973


-Selected as the Outstanding Women’s Volleyball Collegiate Coach in 1973.


- Being inducted into the Forty-Niner Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.


- Being inducted into the American Collegiate Volleyball Association Hall of Fame in 1990.


-Serving as Department Chair for KPE


-I was selected to deliver the CSULB Legacy Lecture in 2000


-Serving as the Executive Assistant for President Maxson and President Alexander


-Most importantly I had the opportunity to teach outstanding students and worked with wonderful men and women professionals for 45 years at CSULB!

What are you doing today?

Right now, since my retirement in the fall of 2010, my primary responsibility has been caring for my Mother in Provo, Utah (who just celebrated her 102nd birthday).  I spend 8-10 weeks in Utah with her and then return to CA for 7-9 days to take care of my home, personal business and pick up mail.  One or two weeks a year I take a vacation with my Mom and four sisters, traveling somewhere in or close to Provo, Utah.

What would be one word to desribe the campus environment/community during your time?