By Ronald Hanaki
It started with a phone call.
New Director of Athletics Josh Looney called junior sport management and communication studies double major Fran McMenamin to ask him if he wanted to throw out the first pitch during ESU Baseball’s Military Appreciation Day last Saturday.
“It was pretty awesome. I usually hate to be the center of attention, but I thought it would be a cool experience. Two other guys got to throw the first pitch. It was an honor,” said McMenamin.
McMenamin came to ESU as a 24-year old freshman military hero.
Before coming to ESU, he went to Widener University as a prephysical therapy major. After one year, he dropped out because he could not afford the tuition. Then he decided to join the Marine Corps.
“Since I was 14, I lived with my uncle who was a Vietnam vet. He was a radio operator in the Marine Corps. I wanted to join the best, and that was the Marines.”
McMenamin always had a strong drive to compete. That competitive instinct helped him get through two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
“It was tough. During my first deployment, I was a Lance Corporal. I did all the hard stuff. I put up barbed wires and dug holes. I must have filled 1,000 sandbags. It was the worst four months and the best four months of my life,” said McMenamin.
In Sept. 2012, McMenamin mustered out of the Marines. Armed with the GI Bill, he chose to go to college at ESU because his brother went here.
He also wanted to play football. “I thought I would give it another shot to relive my teenage years,” said McMenamin.
McMenamin revealed that his long-term goal is to be a football coach. “That’s the reason why I left the Marine Corps,” said McMenamin.
McMenamin said that Professor Edward Arner from sport management and Dr. Patricia Kennedy from the communication studies department are his two favorite professors.
McMenamin said, “I had an instant connection with Coach Douds. His son is a colonel in the Marine Corps, so if there was any coach who would understand, it was him.”
He also credits Coach Mike Santella for staying patient with him and developing him as an offensive lineman.
“It [the offensive line] is really technical. I enjoy learning new techniques and working hours in practice picking up twists and stunts. You also have to be in sync with the guy next to you. So it’s really a unique position,” said McMenamin.
“The Marines definitely helped me from a discipline standpoint. Any student-athlete has to be disciplined to balance school, work and football,” said McMenamin.
McMenamin will graduate in December and plans to attend graduate school.
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