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Sandburg Athletic Director Bruce Scheidegger hands Lucas Verzbicas the 2009-10 Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award, which Verzbicas won last year, to go along with the 2010-11 award he was presented today at Carl Sandburg High Sc

The athletic director at Sandburg High School in Orland Park died in an apparent auto accident.

Bruce Scheidegger, 54, was found Sunday near Mount Carroll at a spot where his vehicle had left the road and gone over a steep embankment, authorities said.

Scheidegger had been reported missing shortly after 11 p.m. on Saturday, Carroll County sheriff’s police said.

News of Scheidegger’s death spread quickly in the school community Sunday.

“It’s just a terrible, terrible thing,” said Rich Piatchek, athletic director at Andrew High School in Tinley Park. Both schools are in Consolidated High School District 230.

Piatchek said Scheidegger has a home in the Lake Carroll community in Carroll County, where he was staying during the weekend. He had left Friday for a state bowling tournament in Rockford, where the Sandburg girls team was playing.

Concern began to intensify Sunday morning after his wife, Debbie, had called friends and colleagues because she was not able to reach Scheidegger him.

“I had a bad feeling this morning when I found out that he was missing, much less to find out how it was going to turn out like this,” Piatchek said. “He was a brother. He was more than just an AD. I was closer to him than I am with most of my family. To not have him around, I’m just beside myself.”

Piatchek said Sandburg planned to have grief counselors at the school Monday.

“It’s just a real tragedy for everybody,” he said.

A Carroll County sheriff’s police said in a statement that a search was conducted by local police and fire departments after a call came in at 11:07 p.m. Saturday that Scheidegger was missing.

A sheriff’s officer found a vehicle north of Mount Carroll on Loran Road near the intersection with Indian Trail Road. The vehicle had been headed north when it left the roadway, drove over a steep embankment and turned over, sheriff’s police said. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Scheidegger. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Sheriff’s police said the incident remainswas under investigation.

Police did not say what time Scheidegger was found. But Piatchek said it was about 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

Both Scheidegger and his wife are from the Carroll County area. They would take weekend trips to the home in Lake Carroll and planned to move there when he retired, Piatchek said.

Scheidegger was in his fifth year as athletic director and was highly regarded by his colleagues.

“He was a great athletic director but, most importantly, a great man,” said Sandburg boys basketball coach Todd Allen. “He was always there for his coaches, and we always had his support. He was always fair.

“He was a great family man. He always stressed to the coaches how important it is to spend time with your families. He really had great relationships with his coaches and was well-respected,” Allen said.
Scheidegger is survived by three daughters.

Sandburg softball coach Jim Fabianski was part of the panel that interviewed Scheidegger when he was hired.

“I have never been associated with anybody who has been more of a coach’s athletic director,” Fabianski said. “He hasn’t let the school down, he hasn’t let his family down, he hasn’t let us down.”

Scheidegger is survived by three daughters.

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