Football Legacy - Inducted 2020
Few people can claim to have done more for building sport throughout Alberta than Dennis Kadatz. His legacy includes an impressive coaching career that began at the age of 22, when he guided the Edmonton Huskies Junior Football Team to back-to-back national titles. It includes his work at the University of Calgary, where he was the first coach of the University of Calgary Dinosaurs Football Team, and later the university’s first athletic director. And it includes his work with the Calgary Olympic Development Association (CODA), one of the most successful post-Olympic organizations in the world.
Raised on the family farm southeast of Edmonton, Dennis played football with the Edmonton Huskies Junior Football Team and then with the University of Alberta Golden Bears while pursuing his Bachelor’s of Physical Education. At 22, he became the head coach of the Huskies, guiding them to two consecutive Canadian Championships in 1962 and 1963.
In 1964, Dennis’ legacy on the gridiron would be cemented when he was hired as head coach by the University of Calgary to help launch their fledgling football program, a role he held until 1968. Dennis was appointed as U of C’s first Athletic Director in 1966 and would remain in that position until 1985. He would also add the title of Associate Dean in the Faculty of Physical Education in 1980, where he put his PhD in athletic facility administration to good use, overseeing the design of the Jack Simpson Gym and the Olympic Oval.
In 1985, Dennis was recruited to oversee another organization in its infancy - the Calgary Olympic Development Association. First as general manager (1985-1992) and then as president (1992-1999), Dennis was chief steward of the funds and facilities that helped ensure Olympic venues -such as Canada Olympic Park - were accessible to athletes and the community. After retiring in 1999, Dennis would look out at Canada Olympic Park from his Calgary home, feeling satisfied he had contributed to the original promise made by Calgary’s Olympic bid: “Part of the legacy in Calgary will be specialized sports facilities that will continue to challenge athletes as they test their abilities and hone their skills.”
While his professional successes were many, the achievements that truly mattered most to Dennis were those realized by the numerous athletes he supported in his coaching, University and CODA years. He was a great believer in the ability of sport to develop leadership and character in young people. Dennis took great pride and humility in being associated with the development and accomplishments of hundreds of students and athletes over his lifetime. He looked forward to presenting the University of Calgary’s annual awards for Athlete of the Year that were named in his honour.
Dennis was previously inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of the 1962-1964 Edmonton Huskies and in 2010 with the 1983-85 University of Calgary Dinos.