Skip to content
College Sports
Link copied to clipboard

Army lineman's military roots run deep

Looking at the family tree of Army offensive tackle Michael Kime, one gets the idea that the Black Knights' co-captain is where he should have been all along.

Army's Michael Kime. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Army's Michael Kime. (Matt Rourke/AP)Read more

Looking at the family tree of Army offensive tackle Michael Kime, one gets the idea that the Black Knights' co-captain is where he should have been all along.

It's a fascinating ancestry on both sides. Kime's paternal grandfather, Richard Kime, served as an Army captain in World War II and won a Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge. His father, Bill Kime, graduated from West Point and lettered in football from 1982 through 1984.

On his mother's side, Kime's grandfather achieved the rank of second lieutenant in the Korean Army.

So it's no wonder Kime ended up at West Point. He will play his final game for the Black Knights on Saturday against Navy at Lincoln Financial Field.

"Both of my grandfathers did so much that was so much bigger than themselves," said Kime, from Zionsville, Ind. "It's almost like I had to serve, one way or another."

The Army senior, who is nicknamed "Momo," said he was 12 years old when Capt. Richard Kime passed away. However, with the passing of time, "his legacy is so much bigger now to me than it was when I was just a kid."

"As a kid, you don't really comprehend the magnitude of what he and his comrades did," Kime said. "But I look at it now and I'm in awe. My father's always had such a strong relationship with him, so I feel like I still can honor his legacy through my father."

Bill Kime started his son in football in the fourth grade and coached him both on the practice field and in the family living room "where we'd move the coffee table and talk about schemes and techniques . . . and my mother would kick us out of the house when she saw us doing that," the younger Kime said.

Kime said his father never pushed him toward Army when his recruitment started but told him what it would mean to play football there.

"We talked about what Army football stands for and what it takes to succeed," the lineman said. "It's so much more than X's and O's. You have to play with a lot of passion and effort. That was kind of the message for me, to be absolutely the best teammate you can be because when you go into the Army, it's just one huge football team."

Kime and his father have some things in common as Army football players - position (offensive tackle), number (78), and the fact that both were team co-captains during their senior year.

The 6-foot-2, 243-pound Kime suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in late 2012 but came back to start every game this season. He anchors a line that leads FBS in rushing with more than 323 yards per game. Army (3-8) hasn't enjoyed much on-field success this season, but the chance to finish with a win over Navy is motivation to zero in on the Midshipmen.

They'll be watching in Indiana, where "I was the only kid in my neighborhood growing up watching the Army-Navy game religiously," Kime said. He is thrilled to be able to represent his family one last time before graduation and going into field artillery.

"I always had a lot of respect for Army because of my family lineage on both sides," he said. "When I came here, I found it was a perfect fit for me. I wouldn't be able to fit in at any other school."