SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Chad King & Edmon McClam
Sept. 21, 2011
Adulthood is quickly approaching for Old Dominion University defensive end Chad King. In December he will graduate and become a part of the U.S. Army.
King has spent all but one year of his college career here at ODU. His first year he went to "the other ODU", as King stated, Ohio Dominican University. The transfer to Old Dominion allowed King to be closer to his home in Springfield, Virginia, and gave him the opportunity to play football.
"I had some friends who went here and they tried out for the football team, so I decided why not try my luck." King's size and high school football tapes scored him a spot on the team. Football is not the only thing King is a part of at ODU. He is also in the Army ROTC.
"ROTC was a decision I made when I got to ODU, I was thinking a lot about the future at that time and what I wanted to do, I couldn't really narrow it down, so I said let me try the military thing. I ended up liking it." King did not always see himself joining the military. He was being recruited by Virginia Military Institute (VMI) to play football and had the opportunity to go and see the campus.
"I went and saw what it would be like to live a military life every day and was like, no, this isn't for me."
But the realities of life after college helped King make the decision to give the military a chance through Army ROTC. Being involved in football and ROTC has required a lot of King's time. He juggles these two things while upholding good grades and study habits in all his classes. Free time has not existed in his life for a few years now.
"Now that I am a super senior the load has gotten a lot lighter, I actually wrapped up ROTC last semester. When I was doing all three things it was just knowing that I didn't have a lot of free time, and whatever free time I did have I spent taking care of something for one of the three."
"My social life took a backseat to everything else."
King knew his future relied on his hard work throughout these past four years. After his first two he began to take football and the ROTC more seriously. It was his junior year that King endured one of his most challenging ROTC tasks.
He attended the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) in Fort Lewis, Washington. There he learned different survival tips while going through the assessment course that determined leadership potential.
Football was not put on hold while King was going through this important part of ROTC. Along with his four PT workouts, he also had six football workouts to complete in one week.
"My body almost gave out on me," King remembers. "But it definitely changed me because it made me realize that you have to work hard if you want to obtain your goals in life."
King's leadership qualities are not only to be credited to the ROTC, but to his parents as well. His father served 25 years in the U.S. Army, while his mother is the principal where King went to high school. One of the most significant life lessons he learned growing up was the difference between right and wrong.
"I can definitely say when you do wrong it comes back on you. Your choices are going to predict how your life turns out."
Along with the tough times of balancing class, ROTC, and football, King gained memories that will last a life time. At the top of his list of favorite Monarch memories is ODU's first season in the game against Jacksonville.
He remembers people doubting the team could defeat a Division 1 team. "When we came back and won I knew it was going to be a special year."
There is one thing King has been a part of on the field that his teammates do not share with him. With the ROTC he was able to repel off of Foreman Field.
"It was pretty cool because not a lot of people have done that. People look at the things we do and say, man these guys are crazy, but they are the things I like to do."
One of the most recognizable faces on the ODU Football Monarchs might also be one of the newest Monarchs to the sport.
"You don't have to go too much further past 2009," said McClam of his career. "I started playing in 2005 when I was 16."
"I was in the marching band. The coach tried talking my mama into having me play football since my freshman year of high school. My freshman year I was 6-0, 225 and the coaches were like `no, no, we can't have you in the band.'
"The coaches met with my mama and she kept on having to tell me that the coaches kept calling her and talking to her - `can your son play football, please?' She didn't want me playing football. She said everyone out there looked too big, yet I was probably going to be one of the biggest guys out there," he joked.
"She was always scared her baby was going to get hurt. Whenever she comes to the games now she's says `dang, you look bigger than everyone else."
However since McClam's decision to stop performing at halftime with the band and don a helmet and pads during the, he has made his mark not only at Old Dominion, but the NCAA record books as well.
In 2009, McClam set an NCAA Division I record for most blocked PAT's by a single player in a game, by either an FCS or FBS players, as he rejected three extra point attempts by the Chowan in the historic opener against the Hawks. He also tied the FCS record for combined blocked kicks in a game.
But McClam wasn't done there. Later is the season, he blocked extra point attempts at Jacksonville, in the Monarchs' FCS debut, and had another one at Fordham which set a FCS season record for blocked PAT's in a season.
Last season, McClam added another one to his resume, his sixth blocked PAT, in the Monarchs' victory over Savannah State. He now stands just one shy of tying the FCS career record of seven held by Tim Hauck of Montana (1987-89).
"The thing that's going through my mind is `don't miss'," McClam said of his blocking prowess, "because if you miss that field goal or extra point, it could be critical. Mostly it's just focusing on getting past the lineman first and getting to a point where you can just slither through. Then you need to make sure you get both hands up. I kind of have big hands so that helps a lot."
As his collegiate career winds down, McClam wants to be known for more than just his blocked kicks
Embracing head coach Bobby Wilder's philosophy of "Aim High", he noted, "My goal is to be named to an All-CAA team. Also, I want to be one of the leaders in sacks. Got to set the ceiling high."