Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Missouri director of athletics Mike Alden spoke Wednesday night about John Kadlec, the only person Alden ever worked with who was verbally committed to a lifetime contract.
Kadlec died Wednesday morning at the age of 86.
“He had such a unique personality, because he was a person that certainly was unbelievably engaging,” Alden said. “He was very humble. He had a tremendous sense of humor, a quick wit, and certainly he was Mizzou through and through.”
Kadlec was affiliated with the university since the 1940s as a player, coach, recruiter, administrator and more. Alden said he met Kadlec, who was dubbed “Mr. Mizzou” in 1990 when Alden was working at Arizona State.
Alden met Tuesday with Kadlec at Boone Hospital Center and learned of his death Wednesday morning from Gary Link.
Alden said Kadlec had a remarkable ability to connect with student-athletes who were decades younger than him.
“Here is a guy that is between 70 and 80-plus years of age dealing with student athletes, not just football players but student-athletes, men and women, between the ages of 18 and 22 and they saw him as a father figure, a grandfather figure,” Alden said.
Kadlec was an all-conference offensive lineman in 1950 and worked as an assistant foach under Don Faurot, Frank Broyles, Dan Devine and Al Onofrio. He worked as a special assistant to the athletic director, a contract Alden honored when taking over at Missouri
Alden said plans are in the works to honor Kadlec at Missouri’s football game against Kentucky on Saturday. Kadlec was recognized with a moment of silence during Missouri’s basketball exhibition againt William Jewell on Wednesday.
“He had a twinkle in his eye,” Alden said of Kadlec. “He was a guy that always had a smile on his face, was just somebody that was encouraging no matter what.”