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University of Missouri

That’s Mr. Mizzou

Generations of Tiger fans will remember Mr. Mizzou.

John Kadlec

Mizzou running back Ed Stephens, left, and guard John Kadlec clown around after the Tigers’ 20-6 upset of Kansas in 1950. Photo courtesy of Ol’ Mizzou by Bob Broeg.

John Kadlec’s time at St. Louis University was brief before he transferred to Mizzou, but he made it count. Before Don Faurot, BS Ag ’25, MA ’27, plucked the lineman from the Billikens’ roster in 1947, Kadlec met his future wife, Dolly, in Spanish class; forged lifelong friendships with Bill and Don Suntrup at City Ice and Fuel; and learned he loved football but loathed academics.

Kadlec, BS Ed ’51, M Ed ’52, known as “Mr. Mizzou,” died Oct. 29, 2014, at 86.

“It was a tremendous honor and privilege to play for Coach Faurot, and he was very aware of his players,” Kadlec told MIZZOU magazine in a 2012 interview. “My first year at MU, he called me into his office and said, ‘If you don’t get your grades up, I’m not interested in you.’ ”

From then on, Kadlec found his academic stride. He earned all-conference honors as an offensive lineman, lettered from 1948–50 and assisted under coaches Faurot, Dan Devine and Al Onofrio.

In 1995, after the resignation of Tiger Radio Network analyst Kellen Winslow, BES ’87, former Athletics Director Joe Castiglione tapped Kadlec as the fill-in color commentator. The “temporary” gig lasted 16 seasons.

“I can’t imagine a more dedicated servant to the University of Missouri than John Kadlec,” says Mike Kelly, radio voice of the Tigers and Kadlec’s longtime partner in the broadcast booth. “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.”

Kadlec was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996, and in 2005, the grass practice fields behind the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex were named in his honor.

“Even though I met my wife in St. Louis, I still think I strengthened our relationship by going to the University of Missouri,” said Kadlec of Dolly, who died in 2011. “She knew I wanted to make something of myself. Anything I have accomplished, anything that has been given to me, is because of Missouri.”