Creighton baseball shocked by death of former player

Chris Gradoville “only wanted to be a Bluejay”
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 11:28 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Omaha sports community is reeling over the shooting death of former Creighton University baseball star Chris Gradoville.

The 37-year-old was gunned down outside a rental property he owned, where he was doing maintenance. A man is in custody and charged with murder.

A standout catcher from 2004-2007 for the Bluejays, Gradoville joined the baseball staff in late 2020 as the school’s Director of Baseball Operations. He was hired by the man who was also his first coach for the Bluejays, Ed Servais, who spoke briefly by phone with WOWT’s Brent Weber.

Gradoville was a star at Bryan High School and had an immediate impact for Creighton in 2004. The next season he blossomed, hitting .403 as a sophomore, still the seventh best single season average in school history. After his all-conference career he was drafted by the Texas Rangers, and made it as far as AAA Oklahoma City in 2010. He met his wife Nikki while playing minor league baseball in Spokane, Washington.

His interest in coaching and family brought him back to Creighton.

“There were other opportunities for Chris to become a coach,” Servais said. “But he only wanted to be a Bluejay.”

Bill Olson, a former Creighton coach and an icon in Omaha area baseball, said he was in shock after hearing the news.

“(He was) always talking to players, working with players, there’s nothing negative in his head,” Olson said. “He was always positive, and finding the good things to dwell on. He’s gonna be missed because he did so doggone much for baseball.”

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