Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD — The biggest accomplishment for most coaches during their careers is not measured in state championships or wins and losses.
Most of them, if they are being honest, will tell you the biggest measurable comes from the number of lives they impact along the way.
Perhaps there was no greater example of that then Legacy’s Matt Craddock, 56, who passed away after a lengthy battle with colon cancer on Jan. 12.
“We all knew it was coming,” said Legacy football coach Wayne Voorhees, who had Craddock on his staff for the past six season. “It doesn’t make it any easier.”
For the first half of his career, Craddock enjoyed all sorts of success as an assistant football coach at Northglenn and then again as the head coach at neighboring Thornton.
When Legacy opened its doors in 2000, Craddock was part of its inaugural staff and was the Lightning’s first tennis coach.
“One of his biggest attributes was that he worked great with kids and everybody else,” Voorhees said. “It comes down to his positiveness. I have never met anybody more positive and he came out when he was first diagnosed and he was upbeat and positive … and that’s why he lasted as long as he did.”
Last September, after the fatal bus crash at Denver International Airport, Craddock stepped up as the Lightning’s interim coach while Voorhees and several of his assistants recovered from their injuries.
“He had done it before and he was just a leader and he did an outstanding job with our guys,” Voorhees said. “I couldn’t imagine anybody else to lead us through all that turmoil.”
Craddock’s impact will live on for years in both his former players and for the men who had the opportunity to be a part of his staffs at both Northglenn and Thornton.
Current Holy Family coordinator Matt Brothers was with Craddock at both stops and remained close with his friend to the very end.
“You could arguably say that he influenced major innovations at Northglenn when he first started off,” Brothers said. “He followed some pretty big names at Thornton and built on what they were able to do.
“Matt had a gift for connecting with kids … he had done it everywhere he had been and I knew the second that Wayne hired him as their defensive coordinator that they were going to be a lot better on defense.”
To celebrate Craddock’s life, his family will be holding a memorial of life celebration Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ LDS in Broomfield (13370 Lowell Blvd. Broomfield). Attire for the service will be business casual.
Jon Yunt: email@example.com or twitter.com/JonEYunt