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Chester Caddas, Pacific’s head football coach from 1972-78, was tough-minded and gave student-athletes a sense of family and togetherness. Courtesy photo by The Record

Chester Caddas, Pacific’s head football coach from 1972-78, was tough-minded and gave student-athletes a sense of family and togetherness. Courtesy photo by The Record

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Pacific News

Beloved Pacific Tigers football coach remembered

Jul 29, 2019

Chester Caddas was tough on young student-athletes, but the kind of man who mixed a southern charm and humor to give University of the Pacific football players a feeling of family, togetherness and love. For many, he represented what it was to be a Pacific Tiger. Caddas passed away July 27.

Caddas came to Pacific when future NFL head coach Buddy Ryan, Pacific's defensive coordinator for the 1967 season, recommended Caddas for a coaching position for the 1968 campaign.

In a video clip shared on social media following the news of his death, Caddas recalled sleeping in Grace Covell Hall the evening before his job interview.

"I got up the next morning and fell in love with the place," Caddas said in the video. "I never have fallen out of love (with Pacific). I interviewed during the day. I called my wife and told her I was going to take the job. It was the beginning of a long relationship that has had some rough places, but a lot of great, great times. A wonderful place, I loved it all." He influenced hundreds of Pacific student-athletes in doing what he loved. Among those Caddas influenced was NFL coach Pete Carroll.

"He represented all that was great about being a Tiger!," was posted by Carroll's Twitter account. "He truly symbolized Tiger football- the togetherness, the toughness, the competitiveness, the never back down from any challenge mentality, and the love. ..."

Caddas knew the human side of his coaches and players.

"I'd say his style was tough love with a little southern humor mixed in," Ted Leland '70, '74, Caddas' defensive coordinator for three seasons, told The Record. "He made us all feel as a family. He had a real feel for football players and a real feel for human side. He had a way of coaching that transcended X's and O's."

Caddas, a Tennessee native, graduated in 1957 from Murray State, where he met his wife of 61 years, Bette. They two had three children, Lyn Matasci, Chris Caddas and Rachel Buckman, who preceded her parents in death. Bette Caddas died in September 2017.
 
Caddas' coaching career began at Vanderbilt University in 1966.

Known as a defensive specialist who could develop tough defenses, Caddas was an assistant coach at Pacific from 1968-71. He took over the football program from Homer Smith after a 3-8 season. Caddas turned around the program in his first year for an 8-3 overall record and 3-1 record in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA). Pacific football teams had four winning seasons during his time as head coach with an overall 38-38-2 record. He was a 1992-93 Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame inductee.
 
Last year, Pacific alumnus Dick McClure organized a reunion and Caddas was touched that more than 60 former players returned to Stockton to reminisce and visit with him.

"He was in his element, reconnecting with his players," daughter Lyn Matasci told The Record.

Caddas' influence was recognized in a recent history of the university.

"Those men who had the good fortune to play under Chester Caddas from 1972-78 developed a great esprit de corps working with perhaps Pacific's most beloved football coach," reads a passage from "Pacific on the Rise: The Story of California's First University." "Caddas' teams were the only winners in the PCAA/Big West Conference over the quarter of a century of Pacific in the conference." Besides his daughter and son, Caddas is survived by six grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Memorial services are yet to be announced.

 

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