Coach Kacie’s love for life and those around her was very apparent in her infectious laugh and one of a kind smile. She brought a positive attitude to her everyday life whether with family, on the pool deck, or at work. Kacie made an everlasting impact on the lives of those she came in contact with. A huge part of Kacie’s life was swimming. Kacie began swimming in third grade. She swam club swimming and also swam for her high school (South Lyon East). Kacie was recruited by the University of Denver and continued her swim career as a Division I athlete. While at Denver Kacie earned her Bachelors in Environmental Science. After returning home Kacie became an assistant coach at South Lyon East. Kacie was not only a coach to her athletes but a friend, role model, and mentor. Kacie’s success in and out of the pool is attributed to her impeccable work ethic and determination. In order to honor her and keep her memory alive the Coach Kacie Memorial Foundation was created. Although Kacie left this world too soon, she left a small piece of herself with everyone whom she came in contact with.
Let your smile change the world,
don’t let the world change your smile.
After over 15 years of friendship I have too many memories with Kacie to count. We were practically inseparable from 3rd grade until we both moved away for college. When I think about memories with Kacie what always comes to mind is the time we spent doing 'boring' things. I think I remember the boring things the most because they were the foundation of our friendship. As friends came and went in middle and high school, Kacie was always there and I never felt like I needed to impress her. She was the easiest person to do nothing with, and most of the time we would just do nothing together. We spent a lot of time playing Nancy Drew on the computer, getting catered on by her mom who would provide us with an unlimited supply of chicken pasta and spicy pretzels. In high school we had an unhealthy obsession with Mocha Frappes from McDonald's and would get them almost everyday. We were so obsessed that her parents got us a frappe maker so we could make our own, and we had the recipe down to a science. When we weren't playing Nancy Drew and drinking frappes we were watching movies in her basement and getting ice cream from Mickey's. She would sprint up the stairs when the movie was over because there was a rule that the last person downstairs had to turn everything off. This was a rule I learned about the hard way, and for a while I would try to beat her upstairs only to have to go back down to shut everything off. When I finally caught on and beat her up stairs once or twice, she started sprinting before the credits even rolled. Eventually, I gave up even trying and just owned my role as the person who turned everything off at the end of a movie.
My favorite memories though are from when we would just do silly stuff like one summer we complained everyday for weeks that we didn't have a pool to hang out at, and eventually we went out and bought a kiddie pool and set it up in her backyard. We even bought blow up rafts to lay on even though the pool only had about a foot of water in it. In high school, we would spend the hour between school ending and swim practice starting trying to make it through the locker room without turning on the motion sensor lights - we were never successful but we still tried. There was the time Kacie got a fart machine, and had me fully convinced that it was her brace making noise then later convinced me it was actually her farting, and it wasn't until she bursted out in uncontrollable laughter that I figured out it was actually a fart machine. Laughing with Kacie was the best.
I met Kacie through the Novi Sturgeons Swim Team, when we were around 9 or 10 years old. We had the opportunity to go through our awkward years, high school, college and young adulthood years together as friends. Kacie was truly one of a kind, and was always down for an adventure and could always make everyone laugh. To get a sense of just how adventurous she was, when we were probably 12 years old at a 5:00am outdoor morning practice, in the middle of a tough set, the boys on our team dared us to eat a live worm off of the pool deck. Of course I refused, however without a second thought Kacie slurped one down - causing everyone to stop and laugh, making us so out of breath for our swim, yet she went on to to swim faster than anyone else in the pool. Another one of my favorite memories with Kacie was a few years back when we traveled to California for a friend’s wedding. We decided to make a trip of it, and went to the National Redwood Forest during one of our days there. Per usual of Kacie, we climbed a tree to take a photo of the scenery - an easy task for her, but not so much for me. Kacie hopped up and down no problem, however I was too scared to jump down. Instead of helping me, Kacie instead took out her phone to video me while laughing hysterically. In the end, I got safely to the ground but we laughed so hard we were both in tears because I was so scared of this HUGE 3 foot jump down that Kacie refused to help me maneuver. I am so thankful for the laughs, memories, and friendship that Kacie brought me throughout her lifetime.
Kacie Paul, you were a great friend to me. We were two peas in a pod at swim practice. There was always an unspoken battle going back and forth to see who could swim faster. You never resorted to the obvious conclusion that boys are supposed to be faster, and instead you just beat me anyways. As one can see, you were my first crush. (Sorry, Kaitlyn Vincent, sorry, Clay Paul.) Although our friend group went our separate ways in college, whenever we all got to hang out again, it was never awkward catching up and there was always laughter. I remember you saying a bunch of times after I started dating my wife, Travis, when am I going to meet Kaitlyn? You and Kaitlyn were finally able to meet just two or three years ago, and you were just getting to know each other now that we moved back. I wish we could see life through with you and Clay and all our friends. I wish we could still call you and Clay up on any random Friday night when we all agree we have nothing better to do, so we go to a bar, catch up, play some trivia, maybe reminisce on some of the "good ol' days", and make memories. There are so many memories. And most of the memories aren't mountaintop moments, but just little stuff. Because sometimes it's not about what you do, but just about showing up. And you always did.
It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Kacie, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. She was a HUGE part of my childhood... when I think back to all my swimming memories from 7th grade on, she was always there. Every practice, every travel meet. She pushed me to be a better swimmer without even knowing she did. She was always laughing and had such a happy and contagious spirit. It absolutely BROKE my heart when I heard the awful news. It’s not fair that we lost such a great person so soon. My heart breaks for her family, her husband, her friends, absolutely everyone who knows her and loves her. My thoughts and prayers will always be with you. You will always be remembered, Kacie.