By Colorado Sports Hall of Famer Larry Zimmer, KOA Radio, retired
Kay was destined to have his name synonymous with Colorado School of Mines. He was practically born on the campus. His father was a student and lived across from the president’s house.
Kay followed his father and enrolled at Mines after growing up playing sports in mining towns on the Western Slopes. At Mines, he lettered in wrestling and football and was named a Small College All-American. He earned a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos.
He graduated with a degree in engineering in 1963 and served two years in Germany with the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant in the Corp of Engineers.
He returned to his alma mater in 1966 as an assistant football coach and swimming coach. Three years later he was named the head football coach, a position he held for 24 years.
When he retired from coaching, he became the athletic director and headed not only varsity sports, but recreational sports and the school’s mandatory physical education program.
He also managed athletic facility development.Under his leadership, the Mines athletic programs have reached the top levels of Division II. Kay said one of his goals was for the school’s academic excellence to be reflected in athletic achievements.
In his spare time, Kay was involved in several civic organizations, he served on the Golden City Council for 12 years and was the city’s mayor for eight.
He was recognized by the Mines Faculty Senate in 2005 as a Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. He also received the Mines Medal in 2003. He is in the Colorado School of Mines Athletic Hall of Fame and in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.
He posted 84 wins while coaching the Orediggers. He was named RMAC Coach of the Year and the District Coach of the Year in 1975 and 1979.
Kay retired as athletic director in 2004 and has the title of Emeritus Professor of Physical Education and Athletics. In truth, Kay never really retired. He still loves watching Mines athletes compete and attends most of the games. He has concentrated on fund raising which has reaped millions of dollars for new athletic facilities including support for the new Student Recreation Center.
At a cost of $21 million, the new football stadium opened in the fall of 2015 and was appropriately named, Marv Kay Stadium.
Reflecting on his career at Mines, Kay said, “It was the fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Current athletic director David Hansburg said of Kay’s being elected to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, “Rarely do we see people like Coach Kay who have committed their entire life to one school and surrounding community. Mare Kay is clearly the Oredigger of all time.”
It was the fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams. I couldn’t ask for anything more.