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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Todd Probasco February 11, 2013 at 12:14 AM
The Eagle Community has lost a great man...Rest in peace and our prayers go out to the Scheidegger Family.
P.Y.T. February 11, 2013 at 12:22 AM
The death of Bruce Scheidegger will have a profound impact on the CSHS community. The students are rallying behind his memory. May he RIP and his family find comfort in the fact that he was loved by so many.
Susan Janosz February 11, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Carl Sandburg will always remember you Bruce Scheidegger...for your dedication to the school, athletics and community....Your time, kindness and smile was so appreciated...Sandburg Family has heavy hearts today :(
Dan Sackett February 11, 2013 at 12:56 AM
He will be deeply missed by all. Any interaction my students or I had with him were very positive.
Rita Bilotto February 11, 2013 at 01:00 AM
My hearts and prayers go out to all<3 i never really knew you... but i do know that you supported all of the sports at Sandburg including cheerleading which means the world to me and all of us at Sandburg will really miss you including me<3 you are a true EAGLE rest in peace Bruce R.I.P.
Rosemary February 11, 2013 at 01:57 AM
We truly have lost an incredible man. Bruce supported every aspect of our Eagle communities. Whether we were a sanctioned or club team, he was behind us 100%. A truly dedicated man that was so highly respected by each and every player and student. Our Eagles will forever soar with a little help from above. R.I.P Bruce. To his beloved family, our thoughts and prayers are with all of you, we know you lost a great man way too soon.
Michelle Maida Lauciello February 11, 2013 at 02:03 AM
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Bruce....what a guy. It was an honor to know him. He will always be an eagle and a mentor to many students, parents, staff and coaches. We spoke before every football game. No one will be able to fill his shoes as an athletic director as great as he was. There are definitely heavy hearts in orlland park today. R.I.P. Good man.
laurie heaton February 11, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Just want to say from the girl's basketball team who graduated in 96' Dixon Highschool that we are very sad for the loss of this great coach! To his wife and children my heart goes out to you. I will keep you in my prayers. Laurie Heaton
Joe February 11, 2013 at 02:38 AM
It was such a great pleasure to personally meet Bruce this year, and the great help he was to the Eagles Hockey Club. We extend our deepest sympathies, and prayers to Bruce's family, and the Sandburg community. May God be with you Bruce, and you will surely be missed by many!!
Kaitlin February 11, 2013 at 02:41 AM
So sad to see this. He was a great man as so many have said. My prayers are with his family at this difficult time. His spirit will always linger with the CSHS athletes and keep them rising to new heights. He had such pride for all of the athletic teams and was so dedicated to each sport. There won't be an AD like Mr. Scheidegger. May he rest in peace.
Jake February 11, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Coach Scheidegger: One of the best coaches and teachers to ever come through Dixon High School! I learned more about the game of baseball/basketball and life than one could ever imagine from Coach. I was deeply saddened as well as the rest of the 1991 Dixon High School Baseball team to hear of this tragic accident! Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this tough time! Our education family has lost an irreplaceable member. Thanks for the inspiration Coach! You will be sadly missed. Jake Burgess Dixon High School class of '91'
Laura Emmole February 11, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Also from the last girls team he coached at Dixon, all of us that graduated in 97', best basketball coach I had! My prayers go out to his family. Laura Emmole
Ben Feldheim (Editor) February 11, 2013 at 03:25 AM
Thank you all very much for sharing these thoughts about him.
Cindy Mayer February 11, 2013 at 03:39 AM
There is a great sadness in the Mayer family tonight as well as a void left at Sandburg and the orland community. Our prayers are with Debbie and the girls for strength and understanding and peace.
Jean Matthews Richmond\ February 11, 2013 at 04:06 AM
I remember Bruce from our days of growing up - he in Chadwick, myself in Milledgeville. Bruce was the Star Athlete, the one that all the girls swooned over. But Bruce was MORE than that ... he was an exceptional human being who was kind to everyone! I am shocked beyond words ... my heart, my thoughts and my prayers are with his wife, his beautiful children, his family and all those whose hearts he touched in the short time we were blessed to have Bruce with us. God Speed Bruce ... and THANK YOU!
Larry Canning February 11, 2013 at 04:14 AM
R.I.P. Bruce
Nikki February 11, 2013 at 04:26 AM
Mr. Scheidegger was such a positive and supportive man. He truly cared about the success of every athlete and team. He was one of those people that you'll never forget. He did so much for the Eaglettes this year as well, playing a huge role in finally getting poms recognized as an IHSA official sport. He will most definitely never be forgotten by anyone at Sandburg! Rest In Peace <3
Michael Shehorn February 11, 2013 at 07:37 AM
Thanks for the great Dixon High School memories....love you coach!!!
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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