Montana wrestling patriarch Robert (Bob) Zadick passed away Saturday at the age of 80.
Bob was born in Great Falls and graduated from Great Falls High in 1958 where he excelled as an athlete in both football and wrestling.
Zadick was successful as an entrepreneur and businessman but he was best-known state- and nation-wide for his passion for the sport of wrestling.
His sons, Bill and Mike Zadick, each saw considerable success on the wrestling mats. Both were four-time state champions at Great Falls High before All-American careers at the University of Iowa.
They also achieved international success with Bill winning a world championship in 2006, and Mike competing at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Bill is currently the head coach of the USA Men’s National Freestyle team, and Mike has enjoyed successful stops as a collegiate and international coach. Together they host an annual camp for youth wrestlers in Great Falls, bringing in some of the top names in the sport.
In 1981, Bob became the head coach of the Northern Montana Wrestling Club, where he helped shape the wrestling landscape in the state and developed friendships with hundreds of athletes, coaches and families across the state.
In 2017, past members of the Northern Montana Wrestling club held a celebration for Bob’s career and accomplishments, which was attended by hundreds.
“I’m touched, humbled and honored for my dad because he obviously means a lot to me and our family, my sisters and my brother and my mom,” Bill Zadick said at the time. “It’s humbling to see the impact that my dad has had through coaching wrestling, and that’s what I’ve tried to pass on, is the similar things that he passed on to so many kids.”
“I’m bumping into people saying, ‘How’s your dad doing? He coached me when I was a kid and I raised my kids on the same philosophies that your dad taught me wrestling,’ or it was, ‘I run my business based off of what your dad taught me,’” Mike Zadick told MTN Sports before the event. “To me it was like, ‘Dad, I know you realize what you did for Bill and I and mom, but you don’t realize what you did for so many kids in that club.'”
Bob is survived by his wife Toni, sons Bill and Mike and daughters Terri and MaryAnn, and four grandchildren.
An obituary posted by O’Connor Funeral Home asks that: “In lieu of flowers, The Bob Zadick Wrestling Memorial Fund has been established to continue the values Bob lived by and instilled in others. Donations can be directed to: Praire Mtn. Bank c/o Bob Zadick Wrestling Memorial Fund, 1019 7th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405”