Mizzou athletics remembers Coach John Kadlec
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Athletic Department remembered "Mr. Mizzou" Wednesday. Former assistant coach and player John Kadlec passed away early Wednesday morning. He was 86.
The St. Louis native and lifelong Tiger, came to Mizzou in 1947 to play football under Hall of Fame Coach Don Faurot. Over the next 50 years, he not only played Tiger football, but coached, called and analyzed the team as well.
"John Kadlec was a special person. He was one of those rare people who made everyone feel special. The way he could light up a room was really something to see. He loved Mizzou so much and was such a blessing to those of us who had the good fortune of being part of his life. I worked closely with Coach on many issues over the years, and he never hesitated to be direct, supportive and straightforward. His honesty and candor were his trademarks. I'll always treasure my time with him and his family. There will never be another person like John Kadlec. We will miss him," Director of Athletics Mike Alden said.
After Kadlec received his degree from MU, he joined the coaching staff as a graduate assistant coach to Faurot. He coached freshmen and varsity teams until leaving for Kansas State in 1969. He returned to Mizzou after six years with Kansas State to coach alongside Dan Devine and Al Onofrio.
"Coach was such an amazing man, he was an absolute treasure for anyone who knew him. For me personally, he was someone I could always talk to, he always had some great wisdom to share, and he was always there for me in the toughest times. He was a ball coach, plain and simple, and he loved Mizzou with all he was worth. It's hard to put into words how much he'll be missed," current Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel said.
Kadlec returned to Kansas State again but ultimately returned home to Mizzou in 1986. He served as the Director of the Tiger Scholarship Fund. Athletic Department spokesperson Chad Moller described him as a fixture in Columbia. Moller said in 1995 he fell into a new position, almost accidently. Days before the season opener, Tiger Radio Network needed a fill-in analyst. Kadlec took the job and made the "one-game stint" a 16 season gig. He retired after the 2010 season.
"I can't imagine a more dedicated servant to the University of Missouri than John Kadlec. He was such an impressive man, all the years he devoted to Mizzou and to the football program he loved so much, and the impact he had on the lives of thousands of people, including me, was just amazing. He was a devoted husband, father, and friend to so many. It's heartbreaking to lose him, but somebody like Kaddy will never be forgotten," Mike Kelly, Voice of the Tigers and longtime broadcast partner, said
MU Athletics Hall of Fame inducted Kadlec into the MU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996. His namesake remains at the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex, which are named in his honor.
"Coach Kadlec touched many people in his life and everyone he touched he made them feel special. I will always remember his ‘crooked smile' and the twinkle in his eye, and he will live in my heart forever," Gary Link, Special Assistant to the Athletic Director, and longtime office mate said.
Service arrangements had not been announced as of late Wednesday morning.