OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Creighton and Omaha communities are filled with sadness and shock, after Chris Gradoville was shot and killed Thursday morning. He was just 37 years old.
“I think we all realize this is not going to be an easy several days here,” Creighton University Baseball Coach Ed Servais said.
Chris and his family have many ties to Creighton.
From 2004 to 2007 Chris played for the Creighton baseball team.
Servais, who has known Chris since 2004, says he may be the best competitor he had ever coached. However, he was an even better teammate.
“He was a tremendously talented player during his time here. A great teammate, not a good teammate, but a great teammate. His players loved him, they enjoyed spending time with him, he was good to all players on the team,” Servais said. “I think we don’t see that very often in sports nowadays, Chris made the people around him better.”
Chris was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 24th round of the 2007 MLB Draft.
He played four seasons in the Rangers organization before stepping away from the game.
He returned to Creighton in 2020, becoming the Volunteer Director of Baseball Operations. He made an impact in his brief time in the role.
“The players really enjoyed him because he was always very enthusiastic, very passionate about Creighton baseball, and really passionate about the university in general,” Servais said. “Those are qualities we don’t see enough of nowadays.”
But more importantly, Chris was an incredible human being, admired by everyone around him, including our coaches, staff, and players.— Creighton University (@Creighton) September 30, 2021
We offer our prayers and deepest condolences to Chris’ wife Nikki, and the entire Gradoville family during this extraordinarily difficult time.
Chris Gradoville was a special person, teammate and friend. Not only was he a hard worker with big passion, he was the glue. He connected everyone on the team together. A man of integrity, faith and a true love for those around him. Graddy, you will be missed by so many. 💙💙 pic.twitter.com/oT0zH8RINj— Tom Oldham (@tomoldham19) October 1, 2021
He was also a part of Omaha F3, a fitness group for men. They honored him and remembered him this morning as well.
“We always talk about on our runs going to pick up the sixth, the guy who is kind of the slowest in the group, and Chris would routinely run back and pick up the last guy,” F3 Omaha Member Josh Yambor said. “He was very encouraging, always had a smile on his face, welcoming of new guys — he was just a great member.”
“Chris left a tremendous legacy and we’re certainly not going to forget that for a long time,” Servais said.
Servais says he has received many calls from former players as they, along with Creighton University and the baseball team, want to do anything they can to support Chris’ wife Nikki and the entire Gradoville family.