In his first season of coaching both the Lords and Ladies programs, Jess Book was voted the 2013 NCAA Men’s Coach of the Year and the 2013 NCAA Women’s Coach of the Year. In doing so, he became the first Division III coach to earn both awards in the same season since the NCAA combined the men’s and women’s championship meets.
What Book accomplished in his initial season as the Lords coach was nothing short of spectacular. During the 2013 NCAA Championship run, he steered his squad from what was perceived to be an underdog role to wresting the title away from Denison University, the two-time defending champion. The NCAA team title was a first for Book, as a head coach, and was the record-setting 32nd for the Lords program. Book’s swimmers took two individual-event titles and three relay titles while posting a winning team tally of 499.5 points at the national meet. To date, the men's program has won the last three Division III national titles while setting numerous NCAA records at the championship meet.
On the women’s side, Book was hired as head coach of the Ladies beginning with the 2010-11 season. At the national level, he directed the Kenyon women to back-to-back fourth-place finishes in his first two seasons. In 2013, however, the Ladies took the NCAA by storm, setting over a dozen College records and claiming the runner-up spot in the team standings. Two Kenyon swimmers, a diver, and two relay teams claimed event titles during that 2013 championship meet. In 2014, the Ladies claimed their second straight runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis.
At the end of the 2012-13 season, Book had three swimmers earn NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships and two named to the Capital One Academic All-America Team. A total of 28 Kenyon male and female swimmers were named to CSCAA All-America teams.
During his own swimming days, Book, a 2001 Kenyon graduate, was a four-year member of championship-winning swim teams and was an All-America award-winner in the 1999-00 season. He captained the 2000-01 Lords squad and closed out his senior season with an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and his third-straight spot on the CSCAA’s All-Academic Team.
After graduation, Book returned to campus and served as Jim Steen's assistant coach four times in a six-year span. As an assistant, he helped guide the Ladies to three national titles and the Lords to four. He also played a key role in the development of 20 NCAA individual-event champions and seven NCAA Division III record-setters.
Following up on that time with the Lords and Ladies, Book moved on to gain experience at the NCAA Division I level working as the assistant men's coach at The Ohio State University. During that stretch, the Buckeyes improved from fifth place to first place at Big Ten Championship meets and moved from twenty-first place to ninth place at NCAA Championship meets. Book, who earned bachelor’s degrees in English and biology, acquired his master’s degree in sports and exercise studies while at Ohio State.