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Moraine Valley Athletics loses one of its pioneers

Moraine Valley Athletics loses one of its pioneers

The Moraine Valley community lost a long-time instructor and pioneer for women's athletics at the college. Katherine "Kay" Schneegas passed away June 22 at the age of 84.

Schneegas was not only a natural athlete at a time when women's participation in sports was an oddity, but she also was a pioneer for women's athletics at the college. She was a physical education instructor at Moraine Valley starting in 1970, where she taught swimming, archery, cross country skiing and golf. When the Athletics program started in 1976, she became the women's athletic coordinator. At that time the new Athletics director, Douglas C. Gehrke, considered her a co-AD.

Schneegas supervised and coached women's sports, which included softball, volleyball and basketball. Because the women's teams had few resources, she conducted fundraisers for team needs and called other colleges and universities so her players had legitimate competition. She was passionate about Title IX and worked tirelessly to make sporting opportunities available to all students. In 2018, she was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame.

"As one of the earlier pioneers of the college, Kay helped to make Moraine Valley the prestigious college that it is today. She always put our students and the college first," said Dr. Margaret Lehner, Moraine Valley vice president for Institutional Advancement and executive assistant to the president. "Kay was a beloved professor and women's athletic director who guided and helped our students learn and grow. She was an integral part of creating the wonderful family climate we share today. She was a great woman, friend and colleague."

Bill Finn, Athletics director, echoed those sentiments. "Kay always had time for a student no matter how busy she was. She lived life at 110 mph, always. Her heart was with every student and person she met. She was a wonderful soul who will be sorely missed."