It's difficult to pinpoint where Kim Duyst made her biggest mark at Stanislaus State.
Was it during her 21 years while coaching men and women in the track and field program, where nine went on to win national titles and 82 received All-American status? Or, was it during her entire 32 years — the last 11 as a high-level administrator — guiding her student-athletes through the maze that is college life?
"I think all of it," she said. "My passion was making sure the students had a positive experience."
Duyst, senior associate athletic director, is retiring after 32 years at the Turlock school.
She was honored at the Athletics Awards Banquet on Wednesday night. It included an eight-minute heartfelt video tribute with well-wishes from Stanislaus student-athletes, coaches and administrators across the California College Athletic Association.
The interim athletic director since July 2017, Duyst said she made her decision after the school recently selected Terry Donovan as its permanent athletic director.
"I knew there was a national search and a lot of good applicants," she said. "It's always tough when you've been somewhere a long time. You're excited about the challenge. You have a vision. But, you know, it wasn't meant to be so you move on. It's time for a change. Terry will do a great job."
Duyst said she's looking forward to doing some consulting work, which should not be hard to come by given her experience as both coach and administrator.
The New York native arrived at Stanislaus State in 1986 after coaching stints at West Virginia University and Syracuse University. Stanislaus was a Division III program, competing in the former Northern California Athletic Conference. By the time she departed from coaching in 2007, it had moved to the Division II CCAA.
Her fondest athletic moment came in 1994, the year she had her first child, Brooke.
Duyst brought her men's and women's teams to Raleigh, N.C., for the NCAA Division II Championships. A non-scholarship program, the Warriors did the unthinkable.
The men's team, led by Geoff Bradshaw (decathlon), Jomal Bush (triple jump) and Undrae Walker (high jump), finished fourth overall. The trio of men all won national titles, and middle-distance runner Carrie Luis tacked on two more first-place finishes.
Of the early days, she laughed at the memories of former athletic director Jim Hanny's quick trigger as a starter for races on meet days, and fondly recalled the days when the CCAA conference meet was held in conjunction with the Modesto Relays. She was proud of her work to ensure new facilities for track and field and softball.
She's a member of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross County Coaches Association and the California State University Athletics halls of fame. She's traveled the world on USA coaching staffs.
On campus, though, her impact was immeasurable.
In her various administrative roles, Duyst oversaw everything from NCAA and Title IX compliance to academic advising and game operations. She was appointed to the prestigious NCAA Management Council, representing the West Region and re-appointed to the NCAA Championships Committee. She also started the Fellowships of Christian Athletes (FCA) for the department.
Being a mentor, nominating them for scholarships, finding career workshops, putting them through mock interviews or pointing them toward financial planning, Duyst had the students in mind.
"She’s given 32 year of her life to improve the lives of student athletes," Donovan said. "Her impact has been in virtually every area of the athletic department and school.
"She will be missed."
On the video played at the banquet Wednesday, one baseball player thanked her for her impact on athletes and added: "Thank you for helping me get my medical redshirt and helping me out with summer school. It means a lot."
"You don't realize the impact you've had until a number of students tell you they knew you cared about them as a person," said Duyst, adding she was surprised by the tribute.
She said she had plenty of opportunities to move on in her career, but loved Turlock, raising her children in the town, and is fulfilled by the close ties she has in the community. Her husband, Mark, is from Ripon. Her daughter, Brooke, a graduate of the University of Hawaii, is nearby in San Francisco and son Conner is at UC Santa Barbara.
"It's been the right fit for me," she said. "Now it's time to do something different."