Patriot League 20th Anniversary Profiles: Lt. Col. Kim Kawamoto



Feb. 8, 2010

Name: Lt. Col. Kim Kawamoto
Institution: U.S. Military Academy
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard
Graduation Year: 1992
Undergraduate Degree: National Security and Public Affairs w/ a Concentration in International Politics
Did You Know?
Born in Bien Hoa, Vietnam

Despite playing just two seasons in the Patriot League, Lt. Col. Kim Kawamoto left her mark in the record books and continues to provide outstanding service to the country, U.S. Military Academy and the Patriot League. She has been a mainstay at West Point since before Army joined the Patriot League.

Kawamoto left her own mark on the court during her decorated four-year West Point career. Army's single game (16), season (234) and career (796) assists leader, the Honolulu, Hawai'i, native also holds Army's career steals record with 287. Kawamoto was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1992.

In 1992, Kawamoto earned the prestigious Army Athletic Association Award, which is West Point's highest athletic honor presented annually to a male and female member of the senior class "who display the most valuable service to intercollegiate athletics during a career as a cadet."

She continued her basketball career following graduation and was a eight-time member of the All-Army Women's Basketball squad. She also earned roster spots on the All-Armed Forces Women's Basketball team on three occasions.

Immediately following graduation, Kawamoto served as a graduate assistant at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) at Fort Monmouth, N.J. She moved on to Camp Long, Korea, where she served as a platoon leader, operations officer and executive officer for Bravo Company, 304th Signal Battalion, and later served as a Signal Officer for the 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne) and the 46th Corps Support Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C. Upon completion of the Marine Corps Command and Control Systems Course at Quantico, Va., Kawamoto took command of Bravo Company, 1st Satellite Control Battalion at Fort Meade, Md. Following that assignment, Kawamoto returned to USMAPS as an instructor and women's athletic director.

Her military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Parachutist Badge.

In 2009, after enjoying a standout career as Army's point guard from 1988-92, Lt. Col. Kim Kawamoto has spent nearly 20 years as an Army officer and was honored with the inaugural Maggie Dixon Courage Award in front of a crowd of 10,000-plus at Madison Square Garden.

Currently, she is an Associate Athletic Director and West Point's Senior Woman Administrator, she returned to West Point in August 2009 after spending a year-long tour in Afghanistan. Promoted to lieutenant colonel on April 1, 2009, she served as the chief in the Joint Operations Center overseeing all training operations in Afghanistan. Recently, Kawamoto was awarded a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award.

  • Honored with the inaugural Maggie Dixon Courage Award (2009)
  • 1990-91 Patriot League All-Tournament team selection
  • Owns Patriot League single-season mark with 234 assists (1991-92)
  • Owns Patriot League single-game mark with 16 assists (vs. Navy in 1992 Patriot League Tournament)
  • Led Patriot League in assists during her junior and senior campaigns
  • Owns five Patriot League Tournament records for assists

    Q: What factors helped in your decision to attend West Point?
    A: My parents really encouraged me to attend West Point. It was too great of an opportunity to pass up. West Point offered a superb education and best of all, I didn't have to pay for it (monetarily anyway).

    Q: Who were your sports idols growing up and why?
    A: Magic Johnson and Cheryl Miller. Miller was just an amazing athlete/basketball player, and Magic Johnson made the most amazing assists! I wanted to be just like him.

    Q: What was your proudest athletic accomplishment(s) at U.S. Military Academy?
    A: Receiving the Army Athletic Association (AAA) award upon graduation. The AAA trophy is awarded to the male and female cadet who displays the "most valuable service to intercollegiate athletics during a career as a cadet."

    Q: What was your proudest academic accomplishment at the U.S. Military Academy?
    A: Graduating!

    Q: How were you able to balance the demands in the classroom with the demands of being an athlete?
    A: Time management. Plebe (freshman) year was the most challenging year trying to juggle academics, military (plebe) duties and basketball. I did my best to not procrastinate and do my work prior to any road trips. Any possible free time I had, I went to additional instruction with my instructors or received helped from my classmates. It helped me to minimize my distractions so I could really focus on practices/games once I hit the court. Once plebe year was over, it was much easier to manage my time and priorities.

    Q: How did your experience as a student-athlete prepare you for life after college?
    A: Balancing demands and teamwork are vital aspects of being a leader in the military. Being part of a team, sharing in all its ups and downs, provides an experience base that I can correlate to almost any situation in my military career and personal life.

    Q: If you could go back to college and compete one more time, where would it be and against whom?
    A: I would love to go back to the 1991 Patriot League Women's Basketball Championship game vs. Holy Cross. [We played on Friday night, beat Fordham on Saturday night in overtime and had to face the top seed Holy Cross (nationally ranked in the top 25) in the championship game the next afternoon in which Holy Cross won. Brutal schedule!]

    Q: If you had to offer current student-athletes some words of wisdom what would they be?
    A: Enjoy every minute of the opportunity you have to be a student-athlete and being around your teammates. After college, life gets in the way and only a fortunate few get opportunities to compete at higher levels.

    Q: Can you describe your responsibilities as the Senior Woman Administrator at Army?
    A: The Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator for the United States Military Academy Directorate of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) serve as the sport supervisor for Baseball, Gymnastics, Rifle and the Men and Women's Swimming and Diving programs.

  • Responsible for scheduling contests, game contracts and officiating operations for 25 Division I teams, and serve as the focal point for the DIA liaison to the Special Assistants to the Superintendent/Commandant on Human Relations (SAS/C-HR), and educate individuals/teams on cultural issues concerning relationships between men and women at the Academy.
  • Serve as the department's military human resources manager and oversee the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
  • Additionally, a member of the Patriot League Committee on Athletic Administration (CAA), Sport Management Committee (SMC), and serves as the Patriot League Tennis Coaches Liaison.

    Q: Looking back, what does it mean to you to have been a Patriot League student-athlete?
    A: I was fortunate to be in the league in its first two years and it was such a great, competitive environment! It is an honor to be part of a league with student-athletes who continue to boast great achievements both regionally and nationally over the past two decades.

    Q: Can you talk about your career in the military?
    A: Upon graduation in 1992, I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Signal Corps. In my first duty assignment, I served as the graduate assistant for the women's basketball team at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School (Fort Monmouth, N.J.). In 1993, I attended the Signal Officer Basic Course at Fort Gordon, Ga. and completed airborne training at Fort Benning, GA, before going to my first overseas tour in Camp Long, Korea. I served my one-year tour in Korea as a signal platoon leader and executive officer for Bravo Company, 304th Signal Battalion. In 1994, I returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., and served as a Brigade Signal Officer for the 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne) and the 46th Corps Support Group (Airborne). I attended the Marine Corps Command and Control Systems Course in Quantico, Va., and upon completion of that course in July 1998, I became a company commander for Bravo Company, 1st Satellite Control Battalion at Fort Meade, Md. After 22 months in command, I returned to USMAPS as the Women's Athletic Director from Aug 2000-May 2004. I attended the year long resident Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth Kan. before returning to West Point in July 2005 to serve in my current assignment as an Associate AD/SWA. I deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan from July 2008-July2009, where I served as the Chief, Joint Operations Center for the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, before returning back to West Point in my current position.

    While on active duty, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to play on the All-Army Women's Basketball Team (eight seasons in total) as well as several opportunities to play on the All-Armed Forces Team.