Robert Cade

Robert Cade
J. Robert Cade
Born September 26, 1927(1927-09-26)
San Antonio, Texas
Died November 27, 2007(2007-11-27) (aged 80)
Gainesville, Florida
Citizenship United States
Fields Medicine
Institutions University of Florida
Alma mater B.S., University of Texas, 1950
M.D., Southwestern Medical, 1954
Known for Invention of Gatorade

James Robert Cade (September 26, 1927 – November 27, 2007) was an American physician, university professor, research scientist and inventor. Cade, a native of Texas, earned his undergraduate and medical degrees, and became a professor of medicine and nephrology at the University of Florida. Although Cade engaged in many areas of medical research, he is widely remembered as the leader of the research team that formulated the sports drink Gatorade.[1]


Early life and education

Robert Cade was born in San Antonio, Texas on September 26, 1927.[2] Cade took an early interest in athletics, and ran the mile in four minutes, twenty seconds at Brackenridge high school,[2] a very respectable time for a high school athlete in the early 1940s.[3] He served in the U.S. Navy during the last year of World War II, and studied at the University of Texas after being discharged.[4] While in college, he joined Delta Upsilon fraternity and earned his Bachelor of Science. In 1953, he married Mary Strasburger, a nurse from Dallas, Texas.[5] After graduating with his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1954, Cade interned at the Saint Louis City Hospital in Saint Louis, Missouri and did his residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.[4] He also served fellowships at his alma mater, Southwestern Medical School, and Cornell University Medical College in New York, New York.[4] In 1961, Cade joined the faculty of the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Florida, as an assistant professor in its renal division.[2]

Invention of Gatorade

In 1965, Cade was approached by Dewayne Douglas, an assistant coach for the Florida Gators football team, about the extreme dehydration faced by Gator football players practicing in the high temperatures and humidity of the Deep South in late summer and early fall.[6] Douglas questioned Cade why his football players did not urinate during practice and games.[6] Cade learned from anecdotal evidence that football players were losing water through perspiration and failing to replace fluid during practice and games.[6] Cade's research team discovered that football players were losing up to 18 pounds (8.2 kg) during the three hours of a college football game, and that ninety to ninety-five percent of that loss was water.[4] A player's plasma volume could decrease as much as seven percent and blood volume by five percent, and sodium and chloride were excreted in the sweat.[4]

During 1965 and 1966, Cade, together with his team of research doctors Dana Shires, James Free, and Alejandro M. de Quesada, conducted a series of trial-and-error experiments with his glucose-and-electrolytes rehydration drink on members of the Gators football team of coach Ray Graves, first with members of the freshman squad, and after initially promising results, with starting members of the varsity team.[1] "It didn't taste like Gatorade," Cade said in a 1988 interview with Florida Trend magazine.[2] In fact, according to Cade, when one Gator football player tried it, he spat it out and strongly suggested that the original experimental formula tasted more like bodily waste.[2] Dana Shires remembered that "it sort of tasted like toilet bowl cleaner."[7] To make it more palatable, at the suggestion of Cade's wife, the researchers added lemon juice and cyclamate[8] to the original formula of water, salt, sodium citrate, fructose and monopotassium phosphate.[7]

Cade appeared in "The Legend of Gatorade" television commercials narrated by long-time college football announcer Keith Jackson in 2005,[9] during which Cade declared, "Naturally, we called our stuff Gatorade."[10] However, the rehydration drink was first known as "Cade's Ade"[11] and "Cade's Cola" to the Florida Gators football team, and only later became known as "Gatorade."[7] The drink received its first real test in the Gators' 1965 game against the LSU Tigers football team; the Tigers faded in the 102 °F (39 °C) heat of the second half and the Gators did not.[2] Coach Graves was convinced, and asked Cade to produce enough of his potion for all Gator games. Gatorade achieved national notoriety as a result of the Gators' first Orange Bowl title over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in January 1967.[7] The Gators reinforced their reputation as a "second-half team" and came from behind to defeat the Yellow Jackets 27–10.[12] Afterward, Georgia Tech coach Bud Carson told reporters: "We didn't have Gatorade; that made the difference."[7]

Cade patented the formula and offered all of the rights to the drink to the University of Florida in exchange for the university's backing of the production and marketing of the drink, but the university turned down his proposal.[13] He initially obtained bank financing and began to produce "Gatorade" through his own business, but later entered into a contract with Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. to produce and sell the drink.[8] When sales royalties reached $200,000, the university took notice.[14] The Florida Board of Regents, prompted by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, which had provided Cade with a small grant for his research, asked for the patent rights.[15] Cade refused.[14] The Board of Regents, acting on behalf of the university, then brought suit against Cade for a share of the profits,[15] arguing that the university's facilities, employees and students were instrumental in the development of the product.[14][16] After thirty-one months of legal wrangling, Cade and the university negotiated a settlement of their dispute in 1972,[14] and the Board of the Regents and the university settled for a twenty percent share of the royalties.[16] Cade, and his investors in the Gatorade Trust, retained eighty percent. In the aftermath of the settlement, all parties decided to play nice—of the first $70,500 in Gatorade royalties received by the university, the university reinvested $30,000 in kidney research by Cade's renal department and another $12,000 in Cade's other research projects.[17] Cade, for his part, created multiple scholarships and contributed generously to the university from his own royalties over the following years.


Through 2007, the latest year for which figures are publicly available, the University of Florida has realized over $110 million from its share of the Gatorade royalties.[14][18] Cade and his associates' share of the royalties is undisclosed, the majority of their rights having been sold to Stokely-Van Camp.[14] After the settlement, Cade continued to work for the university, and the college of medicine named him professor emeritus of nephrology upon his retirement in 2004. In April 2007, several months before his death, the University Athletic Association inducted Cade into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as an "honorary letter winner."[14][19]

Gatorade, now owned by PepsiCo, is today sold in some eighty countries and over fifty various flavors.[7] In stark contrast to the forty-three dollars that Cade and his team spent to make the first experimental batch of Gatorade in 1965,[7] Gatorade prompted the evolution of a multi-billion dollar sports drink industry in the years that followed. While he was surprised by its commercial success as a sports drink,[4] Cade took greater pride in Gatorade's use in hospitals, in post-operative recovery and to treat diarrhea in children.[20] Cade's other research included hypertension, exercise physiology, autism, schizophrenia and kidney disease.[7]

Cade was an active, life-long member of the Lutheran church, and he was recognized by the church with its Wittenberg Award in 1991.[5] He gave generously to many Lutheran colleges and organizations.[5] In their later years, Cade and his wife established the Gloria Dei Foundation, an organization that makes grants to aid the "poor and underserved."[5]

Cade was a talented violinist who sometimes played with local symphony orchestras.[7] In his later years, Cade acquired collections of more than thirty violins and more than sixty vintage Studebaker automobiles.[5] He and his wife continued to live in the same Gainesville house that they owned before the financial success of Gatorade.[14] On November 27, 2007, Cade died of kidney failure, at the age of 80, in Gainesville.[4] He was survived by his wife Mary, their six children, twenty grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.[2]

The Cade Museum Foundation, established in 2004 and chaired by Cade's daughter, Phoebe Cade Miles,[21] is raising funds to build The Cade Museum for Innovation and Invention in Gainesville, with a groundbreaking planned for 2013.

See also


  1. ^ a b Arline Phillips-Han, "Dr. Robert Cade . . . saga of the world's best-selling sports drink and the creative physician scientist behind it," Health Science Center News, University of Florida (February 24, 2003). Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Douglas Martin, "J. Robert Cade, the Inventor of Gatorade, Dies at 80," The New York Times (November 28, 2007). Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  3. ^ By way of comparison, Roger Bannister, a British track and field athlete who was the world record-holder in the mile run in the early 1950s and the first to run the mile in less than four minutes, did not do so until 1954.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Associated Press, "Inventor of Gatorade dies at 80," USA Today (November 27, 2007). Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e The Cade Museum for Innovation and Invention, The History, Dr. J. Robert Cade: 'Physician, Scientist, Musician, Inventor'. Retrieved March 22, 2010
  6. ^ a b c Michael Mcleod, "Gator-made," Orlando Sentinel (August 14, 2005). Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Robert Cade: Scientist who invented Gatorade, the world's first and biggest-selling sports drink," The Times (November 29, 2007). Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Richard Burnett, "Gatorade Inventor: My Success Based On Sweat And Luck," Orlando Sentinel (April 16, 1994). Retrieved February 16, 2010. Other sweeteners were substituted in 1970, when the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned cyclamate as a potential carcinogen.
  9. ^ Dan Wetzel, "Gatorade's secret formula," Yahoo Sports! (September 22, 2005). Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  10. ^ See "The Legend of Gatorade" (long version of commercial without Keith Jackson narration) (2005). Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  11. ^ Samuel Proctor & Wright Langley, Gator History: A Pictorial History of the University of Florida, South Star Publishing Company, Gainesville, Florida, p. 150 (1986).
  12. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Ray Graves 1966. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
  13. ^ Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Inventor of the Week Archive, Inventor of the Week: Robert Cade. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Dave Curtis, "Making A Splash," Orlando Sentinel (April 14, 2007). Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  15. ^ a b Pleasants, Julian M., Gator Tales: An Oral History of the University of Florida, University of Florida, Gainesvile, Florida, pp. 129–130 (2006).
  16. ^ a b Proctor & Langley, Gator History, p. 55.
  17. ^ "Gatorade To Aid UF Research," St. Petersburg Times, p. 12B (February 8, 1973). Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  18. ^ The University of Florida has since become one of the largest public research universities in the United States, and derives significant annual income from the patent royalties generated by the inventions of its professors and other research staff. See, e.g., Mike Thomas, "Gator Aid: What UF Is Thirsty For," Orlando Sentinel (May 7, 1989). Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  19. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Honorary Letterwinners. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  20. ^ Charles Fishman, "A Few Moments With . . . Robert Cade, The Man Who Made Gatorade And Helped Save Us From Heat Stroke," Orlando Sentinel (May 24, 1992). Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  21. ^ The Cade Museum for Innovation and Invention, Board of Directors, Phoebe Cade Miles (President). Retrieved December 11, 2010.


External links

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