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Bob Gaddis, who as coach led Columbus East High School to two of its three state football championships, is hanging up his whistle.
Gaddis announced Wednesday morning that he is retiring after 42 years as a head football coach, the past 20 at East. Gaddis, who said the COVID-19 pandemic had nothing to do with his decision, turned 65 years old last week.
“It was always in my plans to retire at that time,” Gaddis said. “It might have been a surprise to some people, but the reality was it wasn’t a surprise to my wife Karen and I. We’ve known for a couple of years that this would be the time. My wife and I had planned this for awhile.”
Gaddis informed his assistant coaches of his decision on Wednesday morning. He then put a message to his players on the SportsU app, which the team and coaches have used to stay in communication since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
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“Unfortunately, I can’t meet with our players in person,” Gaddis said. “I just had to send them a message. Since we’re not allowed to do anything in person, I wanted to make sure they didn’t just read it someplace.”
Gaddis is the sixth all-time winningest coach in Indiana high school football history. He owns a record of 330-143, including 212-43 with the Olympians.
In 2013, Gaddis led East to the Class 4A state championship. Because of the IHSAA tournament success factor, the Olympians moved up to Class 5A the following season, but the winning didn’t stop there.
East finished runners-up in the 5A state title game in 2016 before making it back the next year and winning the championship in 2017. Two years later, the Olympians were in 6A, the state’s largest class.
“We’ve been on a good run,” Gaddis said. “Now we’ve dropped back down to 5A, and I hope we can be competitive with the best there.”
Gaddis will continue as a physical education waiver and credit recovery program coordinator at East through the end of the school year. He also will remain in his role as executive director of the Indiana Football Coaches Association.
Gaddis said he plans to do a little more traveling with his wife. They have four grandkids — two in Los Angeles and two in Columbus. Their daughter Alisha and son-in-law Lucky Diaz have won two Latin Grammy Awards with Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band and are up for a third tonight.