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Draper Journal

Football field dedicated for legendary coach

Oct 01, 2022 06:34PM ● By Catherine Garrett

On Sept. 16, the John Colosimo Field at Soaring Eagle Stadium was dedicated to now bear the name of the coach that brought eight state championship banners to the school. (Photos courtesy Salman Sayyed)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

A football coaching legend left his stamp on hundreds of young athletes and the Juan Diego Catholic High School community as a whole in building the program from the ground up when the Draper campus opened in 1999 until he retired over two decades later. On Sept. 16, the John Colosimo Field at Soaring Eagle Stadium was dedicated to now bear the name of the coach that brought eight state championship banners to the school.

John Colosimo, whose state titles included two 3-peats during his tenure, was honored with the field dedication ceremony at this year’s homecoming game against Morgan High.

“This was truly a homecoming event as several former athletes and coaches came to support coach Colosimo,” said JDCHS athletic director Ted Bianco. “He impacted so many young men throughout the course of his career which was very evident by the hundreds of people who came to support their coach.”

“It’s such a singular event that not everyone gets the chance to be a part of,” Colosimo said about the dedication that included a video of several players’ tributes to him and a program that his wife and children helped facilitate. “It was quite touching and emotional for me to see so many old players, parents and coaches. They are all fine young men and look great, although most of the boys gained a little bit of weight and could now suit up as linemen!”

Colosimo reminisced on his “incredible journey” from 45 years of coaching at Judge Memorial Catholic High School and then being part of the foundational beginnings at Juan Diego. “I remember when we were making plans to open and asking Galey [Colosimo, the school’s first and only principal] who was going be the football coach,” John Colosimo said. “He said that I would be doing that, so I agreed to coach for three years, and then it ended up being 18 years beyond that.”

Colosimo also noted the community that has been so supportive, both among those within the school as well as Draper City officials. “Our field wasn’t going to be done for our first year and Draper City offered for us to use a city park,” he said. “I’ve never forgotten that and will always be grateful for the support we have been given.”

And, above all, Colosimo said that he misses the camaraderie with his players and the great dedication he witnessed from them and all those that “made my job easy” throughout the years.

Former player Keegan Anderson, who starred at JDCHS from 2006 to 2010 said he is grateful for the “big impact” that Colosimo had on him over the years. “He was always pushing you to be the best version of yourself on and off the field—preaching that hard work, teamwork and dedication will get you to where you want to be,” Anderson said.

Anderson, who went on to play tight end at Utah State, also took coaching notes from Colosimo to his own stints with the Wisconsin, Oregon State, Utah and Utah State football programs over a 10-year period. “Coach Colosimo’s attention to detail always had us prepared the right way,” Anderson said. “He was very thorough and that is what led us to working as a team and winning two state championships while I was there.”

Colosimo retired from the sidelines in 2020 as one of the all-time winningest coaches in state football history. He coached for 45 years, including 21 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.

Since 1974, he has been honored with numerous coaching awards over the years, including the Best of State High School Coach recognition in 2019 while being inducted into the National High School Football Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Utah Sports Hall of Fame this past spring. He has coached 10 state football MVPS, countless All-State and Academic All-State players and several that went on to play collegiately.

“As great of a coach and leader that he was for Juan Diego throughout his career, he has proven to be an even greater man because of his dedication to his family, his faith and hundreds of young men who were lucky enough to play for him,” Bianco said.

Former JDCHS Athletic Director Chris Long echoed those same sentiments. “John influenced hundreds of lives in a positive way,” Long said. “By playing for him, the boys 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 loved, 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.”

And that legacy has been literally imprinted between the 20- and 50-yard lines on the Soaring Eagle Stadium turf.