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UPDATED: Sandburg Athletic Director Bruce Scheidegger Dies in Car Accident

The head of Carl Sandburg High School athletics was found dead in Carroll County early Sunday morning outside of southwest of Freeport. Those who knew Scheidegger remembered him as a supportive and caring figure in the school.

Update: A tribute to Bruce Scheidegger will be held at the Eagle Gym in Carl Sandburg High School at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17.

Watch: Video from the Carl Sandburg High School tribute.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 18 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 6850 W. 159th Street in Tinley Park. Visitation will be held on Monday at Trinity from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. 

Read: Scheidegger Remembered by Family and Pastor.

Bruce Scheidegger, who served as Carl Sandburg High School’s athletic director for the last five years, was found dead Sunday, according to law enforcement.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office was first told by the Orland Park Police Department around 11:05 p.m. Saturday that Scheidegger was missing.  Scheidegger’s car was found Sunday afternoon off of Loran Road near Indian Trail Road, north of Mt. Carroll, and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a release from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.

The car left the road, drove over a steep embankment and overturned, according to the release. An autopsy ruled his death to be accidental due to injuries from the crash, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Scheidegger, 54, of Orland Park, also owned a residence in Lake Carroll. He was attending the girls IHSA state bowling tournament over the weekend in Rockford, where a few Sandburg athletes had qualified to participate.

“Bruce Scheidegger was by far the best athletic director I have ever had the privilege to work for,” said Jim Caliendo, Sandburg boys swimming coach. “He supported all of us equally and facilitated our athletic department in a way that allowed us to realized the highest level of success possible. He quickly made his mark in the appearance and quality of our facilities. He accepted every challenge and found ways to make things better for our athletes. He knew hundreds of them by name and went out if his way to make them feel special and supported. I truly cannot think of anyone in our school that he has not affected in a positive way.

“On a personal note, he was a genuine friend. I feel saddened that I lost such a close friend. Sandburg will be a different place without Bruce.”

Caliendo further described Scheidegger's strong committment to the varied Eagles teams under his watch, and his presence during key events. 

"No one but Bruce Scheidegger would get a conference swim meet started, then drive down state for cheerleading state competition, and still make it back to the area for regional wrestling finals," Caliendo said. "And he did things like that all the time. One in a million."

Jim Morsovillo, Sandburg baseball coach who previously coached golf, said Scheidegger's encouragement was just as strong in the classroom, and would continue even as athletes moved on from the school after graduating.

"One thing I will never forget is how I would receive congratulatory texts or emails from Bruce after our contests, telling me congrats on the nice win," Morsovillo said. "He would come to our practices and tell our players how well they played the day before. He is a great person and I feel very fortunate to have coached for him at Sandburg. And more importantly I'm lucky to have him as a friend. He will be missed."

Consolidated High School District 230 Superintendent James Gay described Scheidegger as a "compassionate educator and outstanding administrator" in a statement. Counselors will be available for students, faculty and staff throughout the week, according to the district.

"I know I will remember Bruce as a kind, compassionate and dedicated friend and colleague who always had the best interest of students and staff at heart," said Sandburg Principal Dr. Julia Wheaton, in the statement. "He will be deeply missed here at Sandburg and by all he came into contact with through the athletic community."

Jeff Kwilose, boys bowling and golf coach, described Scheidegger as a "true professional" who was intensely dedicated to supporting the athletes.

"He spent many tireless hours doing what he loved, traveling from sport to sport," Kwilose said. "He made being a coach easier by all he did to help us. Bruce will be greatly missed." 

Eric Seibert, Sandburg's head wrestling coach, said Monday that losing Scheidegger would have a "devastating effect" on the school.

"He was a warm, gentle, intelligent leader who was adored by all," Seibert said. "He has touched the lives of thousands and thousands of student-athletes and adults. Bruce Scheidegger was an amazing boss and an even better friend. He is irreplaceable and will be forever missed."

Several others who knew Scheidegger turned to social media Sunday to share their grief, as well as their thoughts and memories about him, and the effect he had on their lives.

Read our Storify collection for more thoughts shared about Scheidegger from those who knew him.

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Jim Eisfeller February 11, 2013 at 02:33 PM
As a former high school classmate and friend of Bruce, I will always remember Bruce as an outstanding athlete and an outgoing person who could, and would, talk to anyone. What a tragedy... he will be missed. Jim Eisfeller
Jenny Kirchner February 11, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Bruce was an excellent educator! He was an inspiration to many students, athletes, and colleagues! I admired Bruce and was always impressed with how he treated his athletes. He will be joining my dad in heaven and he will never be forgotten. God Bless Bruce!
Bryan Sampson February 12, 2013 at 12:31 AM
When your children love and respect you as a father and your wife of almost 30 years calls you "my best friend", you have accomplished much. Well done Bruce! We will miss you.
Daniel McMillan February 12, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Bruce will be truly missed. He was always very honest and genuine in dealing with students, coaches, parents and teachers both at school and away from school. Bruce always exhibited integrity and professionalism wherever he was. This is a tragic loss for his family as well as the Orland and Sandburg Community. He was one of the good ones. This One Hurts. It Really Hurts. God Bless You Bruce.
joe roman February 13, 2013 at 03:14 AM
What a nice nice guy. This coming from my memory of a kind yet motivating junior high school gym teacher(1984). Prayers to the family of this great man, rest in peace Bruce.

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