From Philosophy to Football
Dr. Tim Madigan Learns the Ins and Outs of Cardinal Football through the Coach of the Week Program.
On the sidelines of this year’s Alumni Weekend football game were coaches, players, and a philosophy and classical studies professor, Dr. Tim Madigan. Madigan has volunteered in the Fisher football team’s Coach of the Week program every year since joining the faculty in 2004.
The Coach of the Week program offers faculty and staff an opportunity to help coach the football team for a week alongside the Cardinals’ head coach, Paul Vosburgh. Vosburgh introduced the program in 1993, only a few years after he became the College’s first full-time head coach in 1991.
His vision was to bring players and faculty together to gain appreciation for the experience as a whole. Vosburgh hopes his players show gratitude when realizing the time that volunteers have taken out of their schedules in order to be a part of the team. Likewise, he hopes that the coach of the week gets a sense of how much work goes into being a student-athlete.
Over the years, a number of different faculty and staff have participated in the program including College presidents. Popular coaches include Terri Bagshaw, members of the education department, the late Jean Maley, and Mrs. Rooney.
“The players love when Mrs. Rooney is a coach because there are always cookies waiting for them in the locker room,” Vosburgh joked.
The coach of the week also gets an inside look at team practices. Vosburgh gives coaches a schedule, with minute-by-minute outlines of the training sessions. To Madigan, the practices are like “well oiled machines,” and he visits each assistant coach to get a sense of what the team is focusing on at each section.
After a week of practices, the coach of the week attends the Saturday game. Madigan said he enjoys standing at the back of the locker room during halftime, watching Vosburgh go through plays on the white board. From his first year, Madigan quickly realized that there is a lot for athletes to learn while also maintaining their classes, clubs, jobs, and social life. Vosburgh said that some coaches have even offered up a speech at halftime to show their appreciation.
Through his years of observation, Madigan see the team’s deep sense of respect for their head coach.
“He is respected and committed to the school and it truly shows on and off the field,” he said.
Madigan has used his experiences in the classroom and has invited Vosburgh as a guest speaker in his learning community class, “Ethics and Sportsmanship.” In addition, he has written about it in the book, Sportsmanship: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (McFarland Publishers, 2016).
“The Coach of the Week program exemplifies the true meaning of ’honor’ in that it allows academic participants to better understand the hard work and dedication that goes into planning for and participating in the game, and how such activities relate to the formation of the character of student-athletes,” said Madigan.