With father’s cancer in remission, McAdoo focuses on playing football

SPENCER McADOO, 7, HAS 37 tackles this season for the Mesa State Mavericks, which is fourth on the team. After a trying season two years ago, when he left Mesa and enrolled at Northern Colorado to be closer to his father, McAdoo has returned to the Mavs and is an important cog for the defense.

Family means so much to Spencer McAdoo, he nearly gave up football.

Luckily for Mesa State College, he didn’t.

The junior outside linebacker from Broomfield was in his first semester two years ago when his father,
Bill, was diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia, a cancer that attacks the immune system.

“My dad is my best friend,” McAdoo said. “It was scary. I love the game, but my dad was a mess at the time.”

His teammates and coaches at Mesa were instrumental in helping him through some tough time that first semester.

Dominic Applehans drove him home to Broomfield several times. Derek Thorne and Bennett Newton were there for him when he needed to talk, and the coaches allowed him to miss practices and weight room session when needed.

“Any time you have a family member stricken with cancer it’s tough,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “We redshirted him so he could see his dad as much as he could.”

His father’s illness shook McAdoo enough that he left Mesa State to be closer to his family and enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado.

By the end of his freshman year, his dad’s health started to improve and McAdoo returned to Mesa State the next fall.

“Coach Ramunno said, ‘You’ve always got a spot on this team,’ ” McAdoo said. “They didn’t have scholarship money at the time, but I got it back after the fall semester.”

McAdoo didn’t play that fall either, because he didn’t have enough completed credited hours at UNC, in large part because of the class time he missed to be with family.

McAdoo focused on school in the spring and got his GPA above a 3.0.

With his grades back under control, McAdoo got back on the football field and now has his own fan club.

Bill McAdoo is in remission and has checkups every two years. He and his wife, Cyndee, attend every Mesa State game.

“I know he went to UNC to be closer to home, but his dad wanted him to play football,” Ramunno said.

Last fall, McAdoo earned a starting spot and played a role in the Mavericks’ fourth-ranked defense and 10-2 season.

“I was trying to find my fit with the team,” McAdoo said. “There were a lot of older guys that helped me along the way.”

The accounting major continues to do well in school, pushing his GPA to 3.5 and is one of eight returning starters on defense this year.

“I’m developing into my own player,” McAdoo said. “I’m trying to pick up where Kurt (Kissner) and BC (Brandon Charles) left off. (Aaron) Silverthorn is doing a great job and our linebackers are doing a great job.”

McAdoo, who usually covers opposing teams’ tight ends, has two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown this season. He is fourth on the team in tackles with 37.

Despite playing with two injured thumbs, McAdoo will start against Western State at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The game will be televised nationally by CBS Sports Network (formerly College Sports TV), Channel 411 on Bresnan digital cable.

The game will also be streamed live on the Web athttp://www.ncaa.com/dii.

“He is a great player off the edge,” Ramunno said. “He has great speed. He is a good cover man and a solid player. He is responsible for a lot of our success. He is strong, too. He has an outstanding weight room work ethic.”

McAdoo could have gone to the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State or Southwest Missouri State to play football.

“One of my good friends (Applehans) signed with Mesa,” McAdoo said. “The (Mesa) coaching staff is good and were consistent with what they told me. They were straightforward with what they could offer.

I’m glad I picked Mesa.”

Ramunno is glad McAdoo picked Mesa and returned after his father’s illness.

“He is a great young man,” Ramunno said. “He’s the type of player we’ve got to get, the kids that Division

I schools are interested in but can’t make the (scholarship) offers. I think we’re doing more of that.”


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