Andy Kay ’98 has found a home in teaching and coaching young people. It’s a career he said might seem ironic to the Durham Academy teachers and coaches who guided him through school when he “was a lost soul, made really poor decisions and ... had a really hard time figuring out who I was.”
You could say he’s definitely found his way, and that direction came via a sport Kay began playing at DA as a fifth-grader — lacrosse. Since becoming an English teacher and varsity boys lacrosse head coach at MICDS (Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School), Kay has created a powerhouse program, earning accolades as Missouri’s State Coach of the Year (2014, 2016) and Missouri’s “Man of the Year” (2011, 2013) by the Missouri Chapter of U.S. Lacrosse, with an overall record of 119-34. Currently, Kay is in the midst of leading his varsity boys on a run for their fourth consecutive MSLA Division I state championship.
Q: What have you been up to since graduating from DA?
A: After DA, I attended Ohio Wesleyan University, got a degree in non-fiction writing and immediately started my career in education in Washington, D.C. I also was fortunate that my wife, Kate, was patient enough to wait for me to grow up, stuck with me and married me in the summer of 2006. From D.C, we moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and had a couple of beautiful little girls (Emma, 3, and Lucy, 1).
Q: What are you doing now?
A: In what most who knew me during my time at DA would call a shocking twist of irony, I am right at home teaching middle school students and coaching lacrosse at Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School.
Q: Why do you do what you do?
A: I do what I do because I love being around young people. School was incredibly hard for me in any number of ways. I was a lost soul, made really poor decisions and like many folks both young and old, I had a really hard time figuring out who I was. Selfishly, teaching keeps me focused on doing the right thing every day. Our school’s mission statement doesn’t just serve our students here, but it keeps me honest, too. I needed structure and accountability in my life when I graduated college, and I found that in a career in education.
Q: What DA experiences influenced you or helped you get where you are today?
A: If I really take a close look, it is clear that without the teachers at Durham Academy, my life would not have turned out so well. The love and commitment of people like Mr. Wilson, Mrs. Engebretsen, Mr. Dahlgren, Mrs. Walker and Coach Seivold (Editor’s note: Joe Seivold, a four-time All-American at UNC-Chapel Hill and Baltimore Lacrosse Hall of Fame member, helped lead Durham Academy to state lacrosse titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998.) helped give me the strength I needed to survive some really tumultuous times in middle school. When I entered high school, I was further inspired by Dr. King, Dr. Smith and Mr. Cullen. Those folks certainly knew their subjects well, but what they really believed in was the kids with whom they worked. What I don’t think many outside of the DA community understand is that the teachers there continue to teach long after students graduate. When my mother died of cancer in 2005, I leaned on my former teachers to help me understand my path forward. That commitment will never leave me, and for that I am forever grateful.
Q: What are your interests away from work?
A: Right now, my main interest is spending time with my family. Emma is a pistol, Lucy is a sweetheart and Kate is a saint. I also value every opportunity I get to spend time with my dad, Rich, my stepmother, Blythe, and my siblings Liz, class of 1995, Adam, class of 2016, and Sylie.
Q: What’s on the horizon for you?
A: My team is in the midst of another great season, and I am hoping our seniors can cap off their careers with a fourth consecutive state championship. Outside of that, I will do some traveling, read a book or two and maybe catch a few trout this summer!