When Chad Cradock took over at thehelm of the UMBC swimming and diving teams in 2001, becoming onlythe second head coach in the program’s 17-year history, hetook over a program that was already one of UMBC’s mostsuccessful in the school’s Division I era.
As he enters his 13th season at UMBC, Cradock hasraised the teams’ stature even higher, earning tenconsecutive men’s conference titles between 2002-2011and a total of five women’s crowns. Last year, themen reclaimed the America East title for the program’s 15thtotal conference championships
In UMBC’s final two seasons in the NortheastConference, Cradock led both the men’s and women’steams to two league titles, and the men also won their fifth andsixth consecutive ECAC crowns. In 2002, Cradock coachedUMBC’s first NCAA qualifier in 13 years, Lindsey Prather.When UMBC joined the America East Conference in 2003, Cradockguided the Retrievers through a seamless transition, as both teamsfinished with school-best 12-1 records, and the men’s squaddominated at the league championships, scoring a then-record 901points to take the title, while the women placed second.
In 2004-05, the men finished 10-0, becomingUMBC’s first-ever undefeated team, and captured anotherconference title by repeating as AEC champions and breaking theirown league record for points with 920.
The 2005-06 campaign proved to be record-breakingfor the women’s team, which posted a 9-1 dual meet mark,winning the first eight meets of the season, and shattered 11school records. The Retrievers took seven gold medals and finishedsecond at the America East Championships, just 54 points behindtwo-time conference titlist New Hampshire, a huge improvement froma year earlier when UMBC was a distant third, 252 points behind theWildcats. And though the men were just 6-4 in dual meets, theycaptured their ninth straight conference crown and third in theAmerica East.
Then in 2007, Cradock made history as hiswomen’s squad became the first women’s team fromUMBC to claim an America East title in any sport, while themen once again displayed their dominance, capturing their fourthstraight America East championship.
In addition, Cradock earned his 100th careervictory in the 2006-07 season, when the Retrievers defeatedBinghamton on Nov. 4, and his success has not gone unnoticed. Heand his staff have been awarded numerous honors over the last eightyears, including 2001-02 Northeast Conference Women's Coach of theYear, ECAC Men's Coach of the Year in 2001-02 and 2002-03 andAmerica East Men's Coaching Staff of the Year in 2003-04 and2004-05.
In 2007-08, the men once again dominated at theAmerica East Championships, winning with a score of 929, a newrecord for most points. Although the women lost the second-mostdual meets in Cradock’s career, they outpaced second-placeBoston University by 56 points on their way to a second consecutiveAmerica East crown.
In 2008-09, the men came from behind to catchBoston University and win an unprecedented sixth consecutiveAmerica East championship. Despite a 4-7 dual meet record, thewomen finished second at the conference meet.
In 2009-10, the first year the men were notpicked to win the America East, but scored just 2.5 points lessthan their own conference record on their way to a 13th consecutivecrown. The women, who were picked to finish well behind Boston U.,finished just 84 points behind in second, the fifth straight yearthey have finished second or higher.
In 2010-11, both the men's and women's teams wonthe America East Championships for the third time in fiveyears.
In 2011-12, both programs finished second at theconference championships, falling to Boston U., despite having theMen's Most Outstanding Swimmer, Mohamed Hussein, and MostOutstanding Diver, Andrew Eckhoff, in addition to the FemaleCoaches Award Recipient, Abbey McKenney.
This past season, the men posted just the secondundefeated dual meet season in school history, and then took backtheir crown with an America East meet record 1,075 points,their ninth championship in ten years in the league. Themen’s win over East Carolina on Senior Day was theteam’s 200th win in program history. The women,meanwhile, placed second for the second-consecutive season at theconference meet. In addition, Cradock helped guide MohamedHussein to the NCAA Championships where he became the thirdRetriever in school history to reach the national meet.
Now entering his 13th season, Cradock holds anincredible 184-59-1 men’s and women’s combined record,good for a .756 winning percentage. Cradock has been a part of 19of 20 league titles, as he served as an assistant coach for threeseasons from 1997-2000.
A native of Barrie, Ontario, Cradock earned abachelor's degree in psychology from UMBC in 1997 and was afour-year letter-winner for the Retriever swimming and divingprogram. “I really enjoyed my experience as an athlete atUMBC,” said Cradock, the recipient of UMBC’s MattSkalsky Outstanding Scholar-Athlete award as a senior. “Thefriends that I made here are friends that I'll have for a lifetime,and the whole school experience was a tremendous run for me. Beingfrom Canada, it was a dream-come-true to swim at UMBC, since Ialways wanted to go to the States to compete. To be successful ontop of it all was even more amazing.”
While at UMBC, Cradock swam at the U.S. Open andwas fifth in the 400-meter freestyle at the Canadian Olympic Trialsin 1996. A mid-free and distance swimmer, he capped his seniorseason of 1997 by earning ECAC Swimmer of the Meet honors afterwinning the 200-, 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle events and breakingpool records in the 200 and 500 free to lead the Retrievers to asecond-place finish. The previous season, he won both the 500 freeand the mile at ECAC’s.
Following his graduation, Cradock guided the UMBCMasters team to the 1998 YMCA short course national championship.Before arriving to coach the Masters team, Cradock was theassistant director at Camp Chikopi in Magnetawan, Ontario, where hecoached alongside Olympic coaches. Cradock has also served as headcoach of the Retriever Aquatic Club since 2000.
Cradock, who was inducted into the UMBC Athletic Hall of Fame in2004, currently resides in Odenton, Md., with his wife Christie,their daughter Amanda, two sons Geoffrey and CJ, and their dogRiley.