Students Remember Gaddy as a Mentor

This past summer Stratford lost a former teacher, a long time coach and loyal alumnus.

John Paul Gaddy passed away after a long battle with cancer on July 19. He was 47.

Coaches, friends, and family gathered in Stratford’s gym on July 24 to celebrate his life by eating his favorite food, Dominos pizza, and sharing stories about a man everyone remembered as a true friend.

At his celebration service, fellow coaches Ed Smith and Grady Smith spoke in honor of Gaddy, telling stories about years spent working by his side.

But Gaddy was not only a friend and colleague, he also was a coach and mentor, as well as a friend to new students at Stratford.

Gaddy, who served as Stratford’s Director of Admissions from 2000 until his death, made the transition to Stratford much easier for new students.

“Coach Gaddy was very welcoming. He was positive and supportive when helping me switch to Stratford. He was caring and genuinely interested in me and my transition,” said senior Lindsey Read, who transferred to Stratford last year.

Gaddy’s easy-going and devoted character made him an easy person to trust and open up to, making him a perfect friend to the new students interested in Stratford.2007-Region Champs

“I remember Coach Gaddy as someone who was friendly and very happy. He was very enthusiastic about Stratford and his love for the school made me happy that I decided to transfer to Stratford,” said senior Maggie Hamilton, who also transferred to Stratford last year.

Gaddy also was a longtime basketball coach for both the girls and boys teams. As the girls head coach, Gaddy led his teams to four region championships and two GISA State Championships, with a record of 137-53.  In the five seasons coaching the boys team, Gaddy was 84-47 and won one region championship.

Caroline Avant, who graduated in 2013, played basketball for Coach Gaddy in the ‘10-’11 and ‘12-’13 seasons.

“I would consider Coach Gaddy as the Motivator. Although he was technically the assistant coach, Coach Gaddy was appreciated, respected, and loved by all because of the kind coach he was,” Avant said in an e-mail.  “I remember Coach Gaddy the most as a supporter.  He always took the time to get to know each player as an individual and found how each player could contribute to the team.  He found the strengths and weaknesses within each of his players and used this to the advantage of the entire team.”