Colorado School of Mines legend Marv Kay, ex-Golden mayor, dies at 84

Colorado School of Mines and the city of Golden have lost “the greatest Oredigger of all time.”

Marv Kay, a longtime Mines football coach and former player who later served as the mayor of Golden for eight years, has died at the age of 84, the school announced. Details of his death were not disclosed.

“Rarely do we see people like Coach Kay who have committed their entire life to one school and the surrounding community,” Mines athletic director David Hansburg said in a statement. “Marv Kay is clearly the greatest Oredigger of all time, and his legacy will live on forever in the hearts and minds of his countless friends.”

Kay was an influential figure in helping turn Mines into an NCAA Division II athletic juggernaut, in addition to being a prominent member of the Golden community.

An All-American offensive lineman for the Orediggers, Kay guided the Mines football program as head coach for 26 years, twice being named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. After a stint as the school’s athletic director, he served on the Golden City Council for 12 years, eight as mayor.

Kay was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2019, just a few years after Mines named its $21 million, 4,000-seat stadium after him when it opened in the fall of 2015. The venue has been the site of numerous NCAA playoff victories since, including a semifinal win last December that sent the Orediggers to the national title game for the first time.

“Marv Kay is Mines’ most legendary alumnus,” Mines President Paul C. Johnson said in a statement. “Marv was a friend to all, mentor to many and a leader who made Mines and the Golden community a better place. Many alumni point to Marv as the person who encouraged and helped them persist at Mines and make their way to graduation. They all have Marv stories and they all would do anything to help Marv. The affection for Marv was universal.”

Mines was a part of Kay’s life from the very beginning. He was born in a house across the street from the university president when his father was a junior at the school. He went on to play football and wrestle for the Orediggers, and in 1965, after two years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began a coaching career in football and swimming.

Kay was named the head football coach in 1969 and recorded 84 wins over a 26-year career, coaching 13 All-Americans and 50 all-conference athletes. He also served as the school’s athletic director for nine years.

Following coaching, he was Golden Chamber of Commerce president in 1983, Golden mayor from 1988-1996 and on the city council from 1986-1998. He served on the Golden Civic Foundation Board from 1986 until his death. His last role for Mines was as a development consultant for Colorado School of Mines Foundation, which he joined in 2010.

His death comes a little more than a month after the passing of his wife of 55 years, Diane. He is survived by four siblings, two daughters, three grandchildren and a great grandson.

In a release, Mines said there will be a public memorial at his namesake stadium, Marv Kay, “to honor his life and legacy.”

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