Passages: Hall of Fame Coach Maureen Sheehan, 65


Passages: Hall of Fame Coach Maureen Sheehan, 65

Hall of Fame swimming coach Maureen Sheehan died on March 17. She was 65 years old.

Sheehan was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin. She earned a swimming scholarship to Kansas University, where she was a team captain and a two-time AIAW All-American for coach Gary Kempf.

Sheehan said she knew coaching was in her future from the age of nine. She started coaching in 1980 in Hutchinson, Kansas, and joined the staff of Lake Forest Swim Club outside of Chicago in January 1981.

“Coach Mo” would take over the program in 1984, mentoring five Olympic swimmers (including Americans Conor Dwyer and Matt Grevers) and the winners of 51 state championships over the next 38 years. She retired in 2018. She placed swimmers at every Olympic Trials from 1988-2008 and was a member of USA Swimming’s national team staff in 1986. Also among her pupils was American record holder Kristin MacGregor.

Sheehan led LFSC to a runner-up finish at U.S. Junior Nationals and 12 Speedo Sectional team titles.

She served in a variety of capacities away from LSFC. She was a national team manager three times, including the head manager for the 1999 Short-Course World Championships in Hong Kong and at the 1997 World Junior Championships. She chaired USA Swimming’s Swim-A-Thon Committee and was part of its Senior Development Committee. She was a board member and committee chair of her LSC. In 2002, she was awarded a Life Membership to USA Swimming.

Sheehan was inducted to the American Swimming Coaches Hall of Fame in 2019, the International Swimming Coaches Hall of Fame in 2021 and the Illinois Swimming Hall of Fame in 2020.

She battled metastatic lung cancer, which was diagnosed in 2018. Despite that, the avid and accomplished golfer qualified for the 2018 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. She had been one of 23 amateurs to qualify for the inaugural U.S. Women’s Senior Open in 2018.

Sheehan is survived by her mother, Louise McMenomy, brothers Dennis and Tom, sister Peggy (Hays) and her longtime partner, Michael Lawrence. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations in honor to be made to Go2 Foundation for Lung Cancer and the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.

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2 months ago

We miss you already, Mo

Glee Jewell
Glee Jewell
2 months ago

Maureen, my teammate and friend. Strong to the end. Peace now.

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