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Draper Journal

Colosimo’s Hall of Fame career honored

Apr 30, 2022 10:38AM ● By Catherine Garrett

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

A simple act early on in his football coaching career seems to epitomize the legacy of former Juan Diego Catholic High School football coach John Colosimo, who was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame April 6.

Early on in his coaching career and marriage when money was tight, Colosimo was wearing some brand new shoes for a game until one of his players discovered that his cleats had been stolen from his locker. As John’s wife, Kathie, tells it, “They didn’t have money to go buy another pair. Even though John’s coaching shoes weren’t the best, they were better than what [his player] had and he took them off his feet and gave them to the boy so he could play the football game that night.”

Kathie knew something was different about the “goofy looking shoes” her husband came home with that night, but John’s response that he had “forgotten them at home” closed any further questioning of the matter. Kathie said she was approached years later by that player’s parent who expressed appreciation for what Colosimo did for her son that night. “I would never have known that had that parent not told me that story,” she said. “John often gets letters from players and he puts them in a little drawer. He doesn’t boast or brag about them or even tell me about them unless I press or ask.”

Colosimo retired from the sidelines in 2020 as one of the all-time winningest coaches in state football history, leading the Soaring Eagle program to eight state titles—including two 3-peats— which tie him for the most in Utah history. He coached for 45 years, including 20 at JDCHS where he led his teams to 17 region championships, with 12 of those titles being consecutive, and 18 state postseason appearances in a row.

In winning nearly 80% of the games he coached at Juan Diego, the Utah native owns the highest percentage of any coach in any sport in the state. Since 1974, he has been honored with numerous coaching awards over the years while coaching 10 state football MVPS, countless All-State and Academic All-State players and several that went on to play collegiately.

“No one is more deserving to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame more than John,” said former JDCHS Athletic Director Chris Long. “He influenced hundreds of lives in a positive way. By being coached by John, his players learned there is no substitute for hard work, honesty and integrity. They learned that preparation and execution can, and often will, defeat superior physical talent.”

Long said that respect and influence are two of the characteristics of Colosimo that he has seen up close and personal for nearly four decades.

“By playing for John—a simple, good, decent, and faith-filled man—the boys learned dedication to a cause greater than themselves, to take responsibility and ownership of their own actions, that work ethic and dedication to detail will often triumph over superior ability, and that respect and trust are earned, not given,” Long said. “They learned to be men. They are better husbands, fathers, employees, and citizens because they played for John Colosimo. His players were coached, taught, guided, and most importantly love, by the rarest of things: a truly good man. His players loved playing for him and they became better people because of him. I can’t think of a better legacy for a coach.”