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Paul Madison tallies up four decades of career highlights in Western Athletics

Paul Madison ('71) has told the story of Western Athletics since 1966

Story by Jim Carberry

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Paul Madison, here at a WWU Athletic Hall of Fame Ceremony, became sports information work as a Journalism undergrad at Western in 1966.

As the Western Washington University sports information director the past 45 years, Paul Madison (’71, Journalism) has won numerous awards, but none more prestigious than being named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame last June.

“I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done throughout,” says Madison, who began sports information work in 1966 as an undergrad at Western. “I’m forever grateful I could make a career here.”

To honor that career and his part in bringing attention to Western’s outstanding coaches, athletes and teams, here is his list of highlights:

Proudest Moment: Watching men’s basketball star Grant Dykstra (’06, Business Administration-Finance), whose right arm was permanently mangled in a childhood accident, accept the V Foundation Comeback Award, a first for a non-Division I athlete, at the 2006 Viking Night. “What an incredible young man.”

Groundbreaking Performance: When the WWU women’s basketball team defeated WSU in 1973 to qualify for nationals, it was the first time a Western women’s event was given more than a perfunctory paragraph in the local media. “It opened the gates to a whole different era.”

Saddest Moment: Two days after leading the men’s basketball team to a dramatic victory over Central in 1992, star Duke Wallenborn died in his sleep of abnormal heart rhythm. In the days that followed, Vikings attended his memorial service and competed at district championships. “That two-week period is forever etched in my brain.”

Unforgettable Teams: 1971-72, 1987-88 and 2000-01 men’s basketball; 1976 and 1996 football; 1985-86, 1995-96 and 1999-2000 women’s basketball; seven national champion women’s rowing teams; 1989 and 2007 volleyball; 1984 women’s soccer; 1998 softball; and 1989 men’s soccer.

Most Unbelievable Athletes: Jo Metzger-Levin (’81, Physical Education-Secondary; ’85, M.Ed., Physical Education) twice was a finalist as the best women’s basketball player in the nation (in any division), and was the first Western athlete to be named to the NAIA Hall of Fame. Others are Pat Locker (’82, P.E.-Exercise & Sport Science), the first 4,000-yard rusher in the Northwest; Peter LaBarge (’91, Recreation), an All-American in both football and soccer; Orlondo Steinauer (’96, Sociology), a football All-American and now defensive coordinator of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League; hurdlers Wendy Taylor (’74, Physical Education-K-12) and Mike Vorce (’74, Environmental Education); Mike Franza (’73, Mathematics-Secondary), the Northwest’s leading scorer in men’s basketball as a senior; Annette Duvall (’85, Physical Education-Secondary), who scored 66 career goals in women’s soccer; Ryan Brown (’11, Kinesiology/Pre Health Care Professions), a four-time national champion pole-vaulter; and 12-time All-American distance runner Sarah Porter, a senior.

“There have been a lot of neat people and so many wonderful memories,” said Madison. “I can’t do them all justice.”