Once the game is over…

“Rick McFadden has participated in sports his entire life. The University of Akron men’s basketball assistant coach started his collegiate athletic career as the scout team quarterback for the Ohio State football team his freshman year. McFadden then transferred to UA and played basketball for three seasons.”

Rick McFadden has participated in sports his entire life.

The University of Akron men’s basketball assistant coach started his collegiate athletic career as the scout team quarterback for the Ohio State football team his freshman year. McFadden then transferred to UA and played basketball for three seasons.

After he graduated in 2005 from UA with a degree in secondary education, the Zips 3-point specialist gave up his playing career and joined coach Keith Dambrot’s staff as an administrative assistant.

McFadden acknowledged that the decision to give up his playing career was difficult. The 6-foot-7 forward had aspirations of playing professionally overseas, but when the opportunity to rejoin UA’s program arose, he didn’t hesitate in accepting the offer.

It was definitely a tough decision, but I was kind of injured at the time, McFadden said. I had a bad back. When (the position) came open, it kind of pushed me right into it. The timing couldn’t have worked out any better.

Many student athletes don’t experience as easy a transition out of playing sports.

The transition out of an athletic career can create many challenges for former student athletes, said Douglas Muccio, a sports psychology intern at the Counseling, Testing and Career Center at UA.

Muccio said that most college athletes have been competing in sports from an early age, and that being an athlete often shapes how they view themselves and how others view them.

Being an athlete is a big piece of who they are as people, Muccio said. Having to find a new identity, a new passion, something new to use their time with is a big thing. They’re socialized in the role of athlete. That’s who they are.

McFadden admitted that he had to adjust to a different role after his final year of eligibility.

It was definitely the first time that your job wasn’t to get up and play sports every day, he said. I had been doing that for forever.

The socialization process often makes it difficult for student athletes to exit the role of athlete and enter into another role.

Athletes have to first go through the grieving process, and then discover their talents and interests away from the playing field to make a successful transition, Muccio said.

A big piece of the process of retiring and transitioning is to figure out what else you can do in the world, what else you enjoy, what are some of your other passions, where you can put your energy (and) what you can do with your time.

Coaching on the Zips’ staff has allowed McFadden to experience some of the aspects from his playing days that he misses most.

I’ve been fortunate, at least being able to coach, and being around the same guys I played with and the new guys, McFadden said. The whole team aspect was the biggest part for me while I was playing. At least being able to coach, I’m still around it.

This past season, McFadden served as the director of operations for men’s basketball. His duties included assisting with practice, handling scheduling, making the team’s travel arrangements and running the team’s summer camps.

McFadden said that he devotes more time and energy to the sport now than he did when he was playing.

McFadden is thankful for his smooth transition. He said that he knows of former teammates that have been less fortunate.

I know a lot of guys that I played with at Ohio State and here not being used to having all that (free) time, McFadden said. They’re used to being driven for a goal, heading in one direction. Now, all of a sudden, they don’t have that tunnel vision.

For me, it was good. It just refocused things in a different way.

Completing his education degree before leaving school was a priority for McFadden. It would serve as security in case his athletic career, either playing or coaching, did not work out.

In the back of your mind, you always say, ‘Now, I can at least always do this,’ McFadden said. It gives you that plan, where if nothing else works out, you can always do this.

Some kids that leave don’t have that, so I could see how it could be a situation where they’re left out in the cold and don’t know what they want to do. I was fortunate to be able to get my degree and do all that.

McFadden continues to get an education while working as an assistant coach. He has immersed himself in all aspects of the program.

I try to get my hand in everywhere I can to get as much experience as possible, McFadden said.

McFadden said that he has always had the desire to coach or teach. His current position allows him to do both. He mentors the basketball players about the game and life.

There’s that whole thing, working with young people, and being able to see them grow and do different things, he said. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.


” #1.1362090:2865455985.jpg:McFadden BW.jpg:Rick McFadden, who holds the record for best 3-point shooting in a season at 48 percent during the 2003-04 season, is now the director of basketball operations at UA.:Buchtelite File Photo”
“#1.1362089:3846051724.jpg:Vincent3.jpg:Rick McFadden talks about his life now that he’s not an athlete.:Gary Krueger”