RIPON — Last Monday, recently graduated Ripon college football and baseball player Cormac Madigan was named the Midwest Conference player of the year.
The award honors graduating student-athletes for their exceptional achievements in athletics, academics, leadership and community service..
Madigan has left a lasting imprint on the school, but Ripon College also changed his life.
“That one thing always sticks out to me is just how incredibly hardworking he is at everything he does,” said Ripon head football coach Jake Marshall. “There’s not one thing that Cormac does that he doesn’t go 100 percent on and that’s a big reason he’s had the success he’s had.”
Marshall, then a coordinator for the Redhawks, knew when recruiting Madigan out Laconia high school that regardless of talent, he would be special.
“As I got to know him it was pretty clear, I didn't know physically, athletically the career he would have, but I knew he would be an incredible asset to Ripon,” Marshall said.
Madigan was a quarterback for the first few years of his college career, but after an offensive scheme change he moved to running back.
“I just wanted to help the team wherever I can,” he said. “That was my biggest thing.”
“It was really fun to see him take that quarterback mentality to running back,” Marshall said. “He knew exactly what everybody was supposed to do. it was like having a second quarterback on the field. It's a big reason he had success. He saw things a little bit differently than some other guys maybe do.”
He had plenty of success. Coming into his last collegiate game against Lawrence last fall, Madigan had already set the school record for career points, rushing touchdowns, and all-purpose yards. With his team up a lot, there was just one more record to break, the rushing yards record.
“We went and told the o-line, ‘you guys get one crack at this. He either breaks it or he doesn’t’ and i told him, ‘I don’t care how tired you are, don’t come off the field, you’re going to carry the ball until the series is done.’”
And he did on A 35-yard run to the end zone where he broke many tackles along the way.
“A lot of those records just really reflect on the team i played with – those offensive lineman that blocked for me for how many years,” Madigan said. “That record reflects just as much on them as it does on me.”
It wasn’t just about setting records on the field for Madigan, but also excelling in the classroom. He graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
“You get out to practice and he always had a notebook,” Marshall said. “Sometimes it was a football notebook. Sometimes it was a biology notebook. But he was always squeezing every minute out of every day. There was never any wasted time with him.”
Which earned him a NCAA postgraduate scholarship. He was one of about 100 or so to receive the honor. The two sport star is now using that scholarship and heading to the University of Wisconsin to become a doctor.
“I would love to give back to a community like Ripon,” Madigan said. “It’s close knit – the town is invested deep in whatever is going on. Whether it’s high school sports, college sports whatever, I would love to just come back and serve.”
One thing Madigan does know is that Ripon is forever etched in his heart.
“It's been some of the best years of my life. “I’m so thankful for everybody I've met here, whether it’s the coaches, my peers, teammates. It’s been a rollercoaster and it’s been so much fun to ride," Madigan said.