A Q&A with Mike McMullan @MikeMacadocious

Hipster, ginger, journalism major. Possible law school attender, politic minded, light-heavyweight NCAA wrestler. Mike McMullan just finished his career at Northwestern University as a 4x All-American (3rd-2nd-3rd-3rd), Big Ten Champ, and with a winning percentage of .817 (103–23).

Photo Mary Henebry

Mike wrestled in the 285lb weight class, despite weighing around 235. He is entertaining, fast as a light-weight, and ready to scramble. He puts it out there, really lets it fly, and usually rocks long, shaggy hair during season, cutting it short in the spring when he does things like dawning his suit and dark rimmed glasses to write for Men’s Health. St. Michael the Archangel is tattooed across his pec, sword in hand, sun beaming through clouds behind him.

Below: Mike, hair in full flow, the advantages of being a light heavyweight. He’d just placed 3rd at the NCAA’s as freshman, and by doing so broke a team tie to put NU at 9th place (2012).

He did end up gaining that weight. But, not too much!

Our Q&A took place over the phone. Mike was between a coaching session and a workout with his brother, Joe, who kept calling to try to interrupt us. There was plenty of traffic.

JW-Can you tell us a little about where you’re from, your roots, where and how you grew up aside from your time on the mat?

MM-I was born in New Jersey and lived there half my life. I have 7 brothers and sisters so it was always very hectic and noisy around the house. Food rationing was critical, and in order to have the most food you had to be the most competitive. That’s why I’m the so big — I’m the most competitive.

We bounced around a lot: LeHigh Valley Area, Phillipsburg on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, Easton. There was a time when we were in between moves and we popped into a one bedroom apartment with all of us in it. It wasn't easy. We slept in sleeping bags in the same room because there wasn't room for beds for all of us. It was different, but it built a special family continuity. We shared experiences that not a lot of people have. It helped make us stronger as a family and as people.

JW-What advice do you have for the young wrestler out there, the aspiring heavyweight in particular?

MM-Be offensive and learn what everyone else is doing, not just “heavyweight technique.” Just because you’re a heavyweight doesn't mean that moves aren't applicable to you. At the higher level you have to generate scoring. Become familiar with shooting and it’ll be easier to beat your opponent because most matches come down to a point or two. One shot can be all the difference.

JW-Two biggest accomplishments during your time at Northwestern?

MM-Winning a Big Ten title was cool. It’s actually the only tournament I won as a non-redshirt in college. To go that long without a title was frustrating, but to be able to do it on a pretty big stage my senior year was cool. And then wrestling at NCAA’s every year. Every young wrestler wants to compete in the NCAA tournament so getting to be there all four years was exciting.

Also, living in Chicago. Like I said, I grew up on the East Coast and didn't travel much. I was confined there to an extent. So to branch out and become my own person in a unfamiliar environment was challenging but an opportunity I needed in order to grow. I would do it all over again.

JW-Why Northwestern? Best thing about your experience there?

MM-Northwestern’s in the best conference, the best location, best academics. I mean, if you want to compete in the toughest conference I don’t see why you wouldn't go there if you had the opportunity to do so. No brainer.

JW-What’s the next step for you? Short term? Long term?

MM-I’m trying to figure that out now. I’ll get back to you.

JW-Your favorite food, color, book?

MM-Purple, Oreo's, and Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace.

JW-What’s your current dating life? For those post-grad bachelorettes out there…

MM-I’m locked down, signed in Philly. You know who you are ;-)

JW-Wrestling philosophy?

MM-Have fun. Be active. Do not do the heavyweight sweat dance.

JW-Is there anything online of yours that we can read?

MM-Some articles on Men’s Health.

JW-Three words that describe you?

MM-Adventurous. Composed. Red.

JW-That Vine would make it seem as such…Do you have any pets?

MM-Yeah, Huckleberry Ferguson McMullan. He’s a fat catty cat that looks like Garfield but keeps it one hundred.

Just after our last question Mike held back a swear. Ughhh, that was the only spot, he said. And then I hung up to let him search for parking outside the gym.

You can follow Mike on Social Media @MikeMacadocious

You can Follow Jason on Social Media @WelchsGrapevine

4/28/15

-Jason Welch