Joyce Morton Kief began her teaching career in ISU’s women’s Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (HPERD) department in 1966 after completing a master’s at Colorado State.
She joined ISU because of location, size and the department’s strength. Thinking she would stay a few years, she instead retired after four decades in December 2005. Kief primarily taught in teacher education and coaching minor programs.
Women’s athletics was in its infancy when she arrived. Kief volunteered to coach the outdoor track and field program, later adding indoor and cross country opportunities. She moved into an evenly split coaching/teaching position and was the last teacher/coach remaining in what became the School of Kinesiology and Recreation (KNR).
Her teams won many conference championships, had one national champion, and numerous AIAW and NCAA competitors. She ended her coaching career as an assistant coach at the 1991 Pan American games after 24 years.
Kief continued full-time teaching and assumed leadership roles, ending as KNR’s assistant director. The department established the Joyce Morton Kief Future Professional Award to annually support a KNR student in honor of her accomplishments. She has also been inducted into the ISU Percy Family Athletic Hall of Fame.
In the early 1970s, Kief developed the Campus Recreation Outdoor Program and helped start Bloomington-Normal’s first road race, Run for Your Life, sponsored by HPERD. She co-directed the community’s first exercise/nutrition television program, broadcast on TV10. She also organized student exercise science and athletic coaching clubs on campus, serving as sponsor.
Kief’s husband, Bob “Doc,” had a prolonged illness shortly after her retirement in 2005. He was a dual graduate and ISU athletic trainer. She established a KNR Athletic Training Scholarship in his memory following his death in 2013.
Today Kief stays active exercising, swimming, reading, and spending time with family and friends. She looks forward to traveling and trying new hobbies. She can be reached at jkief@IllinoisState.edu.