Passing the Torch

Mcmenamin joins former mentor in Central Missouri


Richard Rhoden

John Mcmenamin at spring practice with a former quarterback.

J’Ron Erby, Assistant Sports Editor

December 11, 1999. The college football season is coming to a close. The nation’s best athletes are putting on their blazers and shining their pearly whites in the mirror, making sure they look just right for the millions of viewers back home.

The Heisman Trophy Presentation was only a few hours away. This season brought us a freshman quarterback from Newport News, Va., who has cannon like Dan Marino and can run like rabid trained dogs ware chasing him –no pun intended. As well as a running back for Wisconsin who resembled a bowling ball with legs.

But just before these future superstars took center stage there was another story unfolding on ESPN.

Carson Newman and Northwest Missouri State were playing arguably the greatest Div. II football championship ever to be played. It was only fitting the 4 overtime,edge-of-your-seat, can’t-believe-he-missed-the-field-goal, throw-the-damn-flag-ref 58-52 shootout ended on a great defensive play. Northwest Missouri recovers the fumble and wins. Offensive coordinator Jim Svoboda is ecstatic. A young NWMSU quarterback celebrates with his coach and the team. In the back of his mind, he hopes to be the guy to lead them back to the championship next year.

Fifteen years later, that offensive coordinator is now a head coach. That young quarterback who spent four years by his side listening and learning the game is now an offensive coordinator, his name: John Mcmenamin.

The OC has had his ups and downs at Wayne State, this past year a statistically good one. Wayne State, which had 5 offensive players make the NSIC All-Conference team, ranked in the Top 25 in 7 different offensive categories.

After producing such numbers, it would not come as a surprise if Mcmenamin received interest from other schools. And a month or so after the season ended, the once young quarterback stepped back. Not in the pocket, but from his offensive coordinator position here at Wayne State.

On the outside looking in, it’s hard to tell if there was possibly a shaky relationship with the other staff. On the outside, the food in the gag often looks delectable, borderline delicious. But once it travels through the esophagus you often get a feeling deep in your stomach I don’t think any of the public prefers hearing about.

Point being, things aren’t always what they seem.

Right on que, as if it was planned 15 years ago after that national championship win, John Mcmenamin chose to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Central Missouri. The head coach at Central Missouri, a familiar face; Mcmenamin’s former mentor and OC, Jim Svoboda.