For the love of Golden and Mines — and Marv Kay

City, university proclaim April 11 as Marv Kay Day

Posted 4/2/19

No matter if it was serving as Golden’s mayor or the Orediggers’ head football coach, Marv Kay has always had a people-first mindset. He “has always embraced that,” said David Hansburg, …

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For the love of Golden and Mines — and Marv Kay

City, university proclaim April 11 as Marv Kay Day

Posted

No matter if it was serving as Golden’s mayor or the Orediggers’ head football coach, Marv Kay has always had a people-first mindset.

He “has always embraced that,” said David Hansburg, Colorado School of Mines’ director of athletics. “He is 1,000 percent deserving of this honor.”

The honor is a joint declaration by the university and city of April 11 as Marv Kay Day.

“He’s been behind everything good that’s happened in Golden and the School of Mines,” said Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan. “I can’t think of anyone else who has made so many contributions to this community.”

Kay, who celebrated his 80th birthday in February, was born in Golden when his father was attending Mines. After he graduated, he became a mining engineer and the family moved out of Golden. Kay graduated high school in Grand Junction and returned to Golden in 1956 to study at Mines, earning a mining engineering degree in 1963. He also attended the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at Mines and had a military career from 1963-1966.

In 1966, Kay returned to Golden and landed his first job with Mines as assistant coach. Three years later, he was named head coach and held the position for 26 years. Kay became director of athletics in 1994 and retired from that position in 2004.

He now works for the Colorado School of Mines Foundation, the university’s nonprofit fundraising arm.

Through all the years, Kay has most enjoyed working with the students, he said.

“They strive for excellence in everything that they do,” Kay said. “They’re motivated and outstanding young people.”

Paralleling his love for Mines, Kay is equally invested in the Golden community.

Kay served on Golden’s city council for 12 years and four terms as mayor, from 1988-1996.

“He was all about getting things done,” said Dan Hartman, Golden’s public works director, who was hired in 1988.

Because of his background in engineering, Hartman added, Kay was instrumental in many Golden projects — the expansion of the water treatment plant; the Golden Community Center; many trails, including the Clear Creek corridor; and Golden’s waterpark, The Splash at Fossil Trace; as well as the Fossil Trace Golf Club.

He added that “moving dirt” is the first step to getting a project underway, so during due diligence for any given project, Kay would often joke, “Can’t you just go move some dirt?”

Sloan was one of the first people to serve on the Golden Urban Renewal Authority (GURA) when it was established in 1989 and that’s when she met Kay, she said.

“It was an exciting time,” Sloan said, noting that much of Golden’s vitality can be attributed to Kay.

Golden’s capital improvement sales tax of one penny happened in the 1991 election, Sloan said. It passed 1,149 in favor to 1,138 against.

“It’s thanks to Marv’s knocking on doors that got that going,” Sloan said, adding that the tax has made a big difference in Golden, particularly for the streetscape on Washington Avenue.

Kay was one of the founders of the Leadership Golden program in 1984 and continues to serve as a board advisor for the Golden Civic Foundation.

“The beautiful thing we have here is the people who want to keep Golden golden,” Kay said.

It’s in a beautiful location, it’s the county seat, it’s got a world-renowned university and Clear Creek, he added. “It’s just a wonderful place to live.”

Just as Goldenites feel the community wouldn’t be the same without Kay, Mines is just as proud of his commitment to the university. The state-of-the-art Marv Kay Stadium at Campbell Field on the Mines campus, which opened in 2015, bears his name, and he was the inspiration for the Mines mascot, Marvin the Miner, states a news article published by the School of Mines.

“Rarely do we see people like Coach Kay who have committed their entire life to one school and the surrounding community,” Hansburg said in the Mines article. “Marv Kay is clearly the greatest Oredigger of all time.”

Kay’s previous accolades include being a member of both the Colorado School of Mines’ and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s Halls of Fame. On April 3, he will be formally inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

“The thought of him not being a part of Mines is hard to comprehend,” said Brian Winkelbauer, president and CEO of the Colorado School of Mines Foundation, “because he embodies everything that’s great about Mines.”

Kay has motivated, coached and mentored countless alumni, Winkelbauer said.

“Every one of those students were impacted by him in some way,” Winkelbauer said. “He is revered by so many people. This is the perfect opportunity to recognize him on his own, special day.”

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