McFadden Nesting Nicely In Falcons Nest

jeffheadby Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com

Don’t ever feel sorry for Fanshawe College’s manager of athletics Nathan McFadden. Despite the fact the Falcons are often forgotten in a city ruled by the Western Mustangs, it’s no long a David versus Goliath scenario.

In fact, the Falcons are holding their own with perhaps the most successful community college athletics department in the country – a title often associated with the Mustangs at the university level.

In November 2012, when McFadden was announced as successor to Mike Lindsay, who headed Fanshawe’s sports department for 41 years, he quipped, “I don’t anticipate being here for 41 years.” Of course, if McFadden did match Lindsay’s incredible journey, that would make him 80 years old and still guiding the Falcons as they compete in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association.

One thing is for certain, though: Fanshawe hired the right guy for the job. Anyone who has had the privilege to sit down with the 42-year-old native of Fredericton, New Brunswick in his college office quickly recognizes how humble he is – despite his lofty sports pedigree – and more importantly how proud he is to be a Falcon.

SONY DSCAmongst his myriad of accomplishments, McFadden spent six years as the American Hockey League’s manager of operations, and four years as manager of hockey and team operations with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. An all-around athlete with a passion for hockey, McFadden was also sports information officer for two years at his alma mater University of New Brunswick, and before taking the Falcons job a scout with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps, and Manitoba Moose.

“The biggest change for me, coming from the professional side, (is having) part-time head coaches, and not having your head coach 10 feet down the hall in an office that you could always talk back and forth with,” said McFadden of the adjustment to collegiate athletics. “But certainly it’s not a negative in any way.  It’s just different.”

With the Falcons in full playoff mode, they’ve enjoyed much success right across the board during the 2015-16 school year. With OCAA Gold medals in men’s and mixed curling, and provincial Silver in women’s curling, the Falcons will host the 2016 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships March 23-26 at Highland Country Club.

“Absolutely a team effort,” said McFadden of the Falcons’ success. “It takes an entire staff of coaches and administrators to put all these things together. We’re very fortunate to have a staff that is very committed to what our goals are, and helping to see those goals achieved. The year’s not done yet, so the story’s a little bit unwritten at this point, but another month and a half and we’ll see where we come out. But we’re in the midst of our best season ever.”

With the national spotlight on Western in academics, research and athletics – much of that stemming from the juggernaut football program – Fanshawe often gets swept under the carpet. But according to McFadden, comparing Fanshawe to Western isn’t even about apples versus oranges anymore. In fact, he believes the Falcons are holding their own, thank you very much. And when the calm, cool, collected McFadden raised his point, it’s one of the only times during an hour-long conversation when he was visibly emotional.

“I don’t think we’re in the shadow of Western. I think that we’re our own entity. Certainly Western has a tremendous athletics program. And we work jointly with them on a number of initiatives, and they’re awesome to work with,” McFadden said.

“Thérèse (Quigley, director of sports and recreation services at Western) does an outstanding job, and I know that they’re very proud of their program, and I would certainly echo that. They have every right to be, and I hold them in extremely high esteem. I think they’re the best athletics program in the country, to be quite honest with you.

But McFadden added, “When it comes to things like volleyball, basketball and curling, and some of these other sports that we both have, we’re right on par with them.”

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Be sure to read the full interview with McFadden in the LondonOntarioSports.com monthly feature, THE INTERVIEW, coming Sunday, February 21. Click here for THE INTERVIEW.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office http://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com.

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