Dennis Kadatz (Builder)
NAME: Dennis Kadatz
YEARS ACTIVE: 1964-1985
University of Calgary’s first football coach
University of Calgary’s first athletic director
President of the Calgary Olympic Development Association
A visionary leader, pioneering coach and sports administrator, Dr. Dennis Kadatz is considered the father of the University of Calgary’s athletic program.
In 1964 he was hired as the university’s first football coach, guiding the team through its initial seasons until 1968. In 1966 he became the school’s first athletic director, a position he would hold for nearly two decades.
Kadatz was responsible for the start of the athletic program and seeing the program grow from infancy to being competitive at the national level in a host of sports annually. He added the role of Associate Dean in the Faculty of Education in 1980 and led the facility design for the Jack Simpson Gym and the Olympic Oval.
Further, Kadatz served as president of Canada West and secretary/treasurer of the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU).
One of his crowning achievements was helping get the Alberta government to create the Jimmie Condon Athletic Scholarships, which continue to provide more than $3.5 million annually in financial support to student-athletes across the province.
In 1985, Kadatz left the university to became President of the Calgary Olympic Development Association (CODA), which was responsible for managing and operating Olympic facilities in Calgary including: Canada Olympic Park, the Olympic Oval, and the Nakiska ski area. Having previously been a vice-president in the organization and part of the successful bid to bring the 1988 Olympics to Calgary, Kadatz led CODA through the Games and remained with the association for over a decade afterwards, ensuring the facilities would remain vital to training Canadian athletes.
A member of the inaugural University of Calgary Dinos Hall of Fame class in 1995, Kadatz is also a two-time inductee into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1962 and 1963 Edmonton Huskies junior football championship teams, along with the 1983-85 Dinos football teams.
Calgary’s Athlete of the Year awards are named in Kadatz’s honour. The Dr. Dennis Kadatz Family Athletics Scholarship Endowment is offered annually to Faculty of Kinesiology students who are part of a Dinos athletic team.
Kadatz passed away at age 80 on June 11, 2019.