Maureen “Coach Mo” Sheehan grew up in Janesville, WI. She was a sports loving child, and tried every sport she encountered, but always gravitated to the tough ones. At Craig High School she swam, played basketball and ran track, reaching the Wisconsin State HS Championships in swimming and track and field. She was inducted into the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
She left Janesville to enroll at the University in Kansas, Class of 1980, where she swam 4 years for the Jayhawks, was a muti-year Team Captain, and AIAW (pre-NCAA) All-American in relay events. Her college coach, Gary Kempf, was a strong positive influence on her life and decision to become a swimming coach.
Coach Mo began her coaching career in Hutchinson, KS, in the summer of 1980, prior to student teaching at Blue Valley High School in Stanley, KS. Upon completing her teaching certification, she was hired as the Age Group Coach at the Lake Forest Swim Club in January 1981.
She continued in that role until the fall of 1984 when she became the LFSC Head Coach after then Coach John Leonard became the Executive Director of the American Swim Coaches Association. Coach Sheehan retired in 2018 after 38 years with the Lake Forest Swim Club.
Over the span of her coaching career Coach Sheehan was the developmental Senior Club Coach for Olympic swimmers including Conor Dwyer (USA), Matt Grevers (USA), Doug Lennox (Puerto Rico), Michelle Engelsman (Australia), and Kristina Lennox (Puerto Rico). She has had swimmers participate in every US Olympic Trials from 1988 thru 2008. In 1986 she was named to the USA Swimming National Team Coaches Staff.
Coach Sheehan has also been a strong volunteer contributor to both USA Swimming and Illinois Swimming. She has been a 3-time National Team Manager, a National Committee Chair, and LSC Board member and committee chair. In 2002, Illinois Swimming honored Maureen’s contributions with a surprise Life Membership to USA Swimming. She was inducted into the Illinois Swimming Hall of Fame in 2020.
Later in her coaching career Mo took up golf as a hobby, but eventually was drawn to golf’s competitive side and was soon on the path to great success. In addition to winning many local/regional tournaments, she has qualified for 9 USGA Mid-Amateur, Public Links, and Senior Amateur National Championships. In 2018 she was one of just 23 amateurs to play in the Inaugural U.S. Women’s Senior Open.
Coach Sheehan was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer (non-smoker) in 2018. Just 10 months after being diagnosed with lung cancer and while on continuous chemo and immune therapy, Coach Mo qualified as medalist for the August 2019 USGA Senior Women’s AM Championship.
Coach Mo’s Record On Deck
5 Olympic Team Members (developmental years)
1 American Record Holder — Kristin MacGregor, 50-meter Breaststroke (SCM), 2000
Multiple US National and Jr National finalists
2nd Place Team Finish at the US Jr Nationals
12 Speedo Sectional Team Championships (Combined, Men, Women)
51 Illinois State Team Championships (Combined, Men, Women)
Coach Mo’s Record Off The Deck
Named to USA Swimming National Coaching Staff, 1986
Head Manager, SC World Championships, Hong Kong, 1999
Head Manager, US Jr National Team, Montreal, 1997
Manager, Three Nation (USA, AUS, CAN) Distance Camp, Hawaii, 1990
Sr Vice-Chair and Committee Chair, Illinois Swimming
USA Swimming Swim-A-Thon Committee Chair
USA Swimming Sr Development Committee
We are so honored to have Maureen Sheehan as an inductee in the class of 2021 ISCA Hall of Fame.