Chad Cradock knows a little something about commitment.
Each weekday morning he arrives at the UMBC Natatorium at 6:30 a.m. ready to lead the first of two team practices of the day. Each evening the 1997 psychology grad goes home to his wife and three small children.
In between, he devotes himself to UMBC, not only as the university’s championship swimming and diving coach, but as an alumnus and donor — and someone who understands how it takes the efforts of the entire team to make things happen.
“As we continue to win more and more, it’s important that we not take it for granted,” said Chad, who each year works with his student-athletes on letter-writing campaigns to raise money for everything from the team’s new record board to new uniforms. “My old coach said, ‘don’t rest on your laurels.’ We always have to look to the future.”
Originally from Barrie, Ontario, Chad came to UMBC on a swimming and diving scholarship. He enjoyed a stellar career from 1993 to 1997, after which he immediately was named assistant coach of his former team. In 2001 he became the second head coach of the program, winning nine consecutive conference championships, including seven straight America East titles, while the women have won four conference crowns.
He was named to UMBC Athletics’ Hall of Fame in 2004 and Chad and his staff have been named Coach and Coaching Staff of the Year six times, as well, including being named 2010 America East Coaching Staff of the Year. He is also the 2010 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year for the Social and Behavioral Sciences, as named by the UMBC Alumni Association.
Besides the hard work with his student-athletes — whose grades are outstanding, he says with pride — Chad is an outspoken advocate for giving back. As he sees it, supporting UMBC is a way of showing his pride in a place that made a major impact in his life — both as an athlete and as a student — and a way of investing in students who will benefit for years to come.
“I’m still close with my teammates, and most of them are donors, too, because I think we all had such a good experience here,” he said.
“I have every reason to give. My athletes deserve my support, my program deserves my support and the University deserves it. I don’t know what my life would be like without UMBC.”