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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Paul Madison retiring after 48 years

Paul Madison in 1977.  Photo courtesy of Tamera Belts
Paul Madison in 1977. Photo courtesy of Tamera Belts

For the past 48 years, the Athletic Department at Western has been the home of Paul Madison, the sports information director. This is about to change, however, as he recently announced his retirement, which is effective this fall.

Madison has been the sports information director for Western since 1966, when he was a Viking freshman. His title never changed. At this time, he was finishing up his degree in the journalism department and was among one of the first journalism classes to graduate from Western in 1971.

“This campus is very special to me,” Madison said as he reflected on the years he has spent at Western. “[The athletic] program in particular is very special to me.”

Madison has influenced numerous athletes and coaches throughout the years, and he said he has received many emails sharing the impact he has made on their lives.

“He just is the epitome of what I think a sports information director should be,” said Frank MacDonald, former sports information director at Seattle Pacific University. “He has integrity beyond reproach.”

MacDonald and Madison share the same values throughout the profession, and because of that they have formed a strong bond over the years, MacDonald said.

The sense of accomplishing a variety of things throughout the day has been a primary reason for staying through the years, Madison said.

“There’s that sense that you’ve done a good job, and you feel good about all that has happened,” Madison said. “I like that feeling.”

He said that it was a tough decision to retire, though it felt right to him. As the athletics department begins to go through many changes like the renovation of Carver Gymnasium, Madison said he believes this is the prime time to get “new blood and new ideas” flowing through the department.

“Even though our schools are rivals, we are actually pretty close as friends,” said Jonathan Gordon, program assistant in the admissions office at Central Washington University. “He sets a standard nationwide.”

Over the next two years, Viking basketball and volleyball games will be played at various locations while Carver Gymnasium is under renovation, Madison said.

“We have the people that can weather that, and they will come through it with flying colors,” Madison said.

His mentors at Ferndale High School referred Madison to the Western athletic program, where he graduated. Madison began his work tracking sports statistics for Western teams. During that time his job was far different and it consisted of manually entering statistics for various sports teams once a week.

“Back in the day you didn’t have computers, you didn’t have word processors,” Madison said. “I started out with a type-writer, and going up to an electric type-writer was a big thing.”

During this time, tuition was $88 per quarter and he was making $80 a month salary as a student sports information director, Madison said.

“Having this position, I was able to pay my way through school,” Madison said.

During his time as Western’s sports information director, Madison has seen the women’s rowing team earn seven national titles, a national title for the men’s basketball team and success across the board for the women’s basketball team, Madison said. He was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for College Sports Information Directors in 2011.

Madison said he has been thinking about coming back on a part-time basis to archive sports records that he has accumulated throughout his time with Western.



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