🏊‍♀️ Kansas Swimming Legend Maureen “Mo” Sheehan Passes

Pictured above from left to right: Erin McMorrow, Vicki Ingham, Maureen Sheehan and Debbie Bunker

Maureen “Mo” Sheehan, a widely renowned coach who swam at the University of Kansas and served the swimming community for 38 years, passed away on March 17 at 65 years old.

Sheehan swam for Kansas from 1976-80 under the direction of former KU head coach Gary Kempf. As a Jayhawk, she was a multi-year team captain, a two-time AIAW (pre-NCAA) All-American and was a key part of four Big Eight Championships.

"Maureen was the captain of our first KU team and the person we all rallied around when we came into Lawrence. She earned many awards throughout her swimming and coaching career and was a tremendous asset to USA swimming."

Gary Kempf

Over the course of her career, Sheehan was honored with multiple Hall of Fame inductions and mentored a number of future Olympic swimmers from a young age. Born in 1958, Sheehan displayed a clear passion for sports as a child. She attended Janesville Craig High School in Wisconsin, where she earned nine varsity letters in swimming, basketball and track. Sheehan was inducted into the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.

She began her coaching career in 1980, the summer after she graduated, in Hutchinson, Kansas before becoming the age group coach at Lake Forest Swim Club a few months later.

In 1984, Sheehan became the head coach at LFSC, a position in which she stayed until she retired from coaching in 2018 shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Under her direction, LFSC reached a second-place team finish at the US Junior Nationals and won 12 Speedo Sectional Team Championships. The program produced multiple US National and Junior National finalists, with many going on to find even greater success. Sheehan saw swimmers compete in every Olympic Trials from 1988 through 2008.

"Mo was a Jayhawk through and through. As an athlete, she set the early standard of excellence of future KU swimmers. Then, as a coach, she made profound impacts on hundreds of athletes over many years. She was such an important part of our sport and made those around her better. Mo will be greatly missed by the swimming community."

KU Head Coach Clark Campbell

Her prowess on the deck earned her several honors and accolades over the years.

In 2019, Sheehan was inducted into the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame. A year later, she was inducted into the Illinois Swimming Hall of Fame; Illinois Swimming had previously honored Sheehan with a Life Membership to USA Swimming in 2002.

Sheehan was inducted into the International Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame alongside five other coaches as part of the class of 2020 and 2021.

Outside of her contributions on pool deck, Sheehan was a three-time National Team Manager, a National Committee Chair, and an LSC board member. She was named to the USA Swimming National Coaching Staff in 1986 and served as head manager for both the Short Course World Championships in 1999 and the US Junior National Team in 1997.

In 2018, Sheehan was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer and began undergoing medical treatment, contributing to her subsequent retirement from coaching.

Sheehan is survived by her longtime partner Michael Lawrence, her mother Louise McMenomy and her siblings Dennis, Tom and Peggy.