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OPINION -- Pat Cady Field Sounds Perfect

By Kip Dellinger

I had the absolute pleasure to have coached track and field for –- he would describe it as "with" -- Pat Cady at Samohi in the mid-1990s.

We had lost contact after that except for the occasional bumping into each other -- mostly at Samohi football games or my asking someone that knew him how he was, and that had even been awhile.

So, I was shocked and profoundly saddened when I learned of his passing last month.

During what I now look back upon as an all too short period of time, I also had the distinct privilege not only to share several wonderful technical discussions about the sport and its various "events" with Pat -- he was serious about our responsibilities to our young athletes as coaches -- but I came to know him as an educator and a person as well.

For reasons that I cannot recall, perhaps it was simply an invitation -- "come see how we ‘do it’ in my class" – I saw first-hand the knowledgeable and engaging history teacher that Pat Cady was.

It would not surprise anyone that Pat and I came from different ends of the political spectrum, and I would sometimes joke that we exchanged The Nation and the Weekly Standard every Monday at practice (only partly true).

But with his keen sense of history and his innate decency, we never argued . . . we discussed.

And I learned much from him, just as countless students of his did over the years. I always told friends that the best part of my spring or fall track days was discussing coaching, politics and getting a history lesson from the same guy in a couple of too short hours.

And the person Pat was, was on display every day, all the time. He exemplified the legendary teacher that impacts hundreds of young students, more, over a lifetime and who never forget.

I don’t doubt for a minute that Pat is "one of those teachers" his students remember throughout their lifetimes as having made a difference in their youth and positively influenced the grown ups they became.

This is certainly true of the athletes as well that he coached. Particularly special about Pat was that every track and field tea member was "important to him" -- not just the most talented.

He wanted every young person that came to participate in track and field to find it an enjoyable and rewarding experience that can be fulfilled not always by winning, but personally "just getting better."

Terrific coach and wonderful person do not always go together in describing someone. But that does describe Pat to a tee.

One of Jackie Robinson’s oft quoted comments is that “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives.” Pat Cady had a huge impact.

My understanding is that the Board of Education is considering naming the Samohi track in Pat’s honor. Nothing could be more appropriate.

A memorial "pep rally" for Cady will be held at the campus' Greek Theater on August 25. Cady died June 8 after a long bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 72.

Editor's note: Kip Dellinger coached at Samohi with Pat Cady in 1994 and 1995. He was a three-time varsity letter winner in track at Samohi in the early 60s and a Bay League 440 Champion. His father, Art, was on Samohi’s State Championship Relay team in 1935.

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