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Alumnus soccer player renamed college mascot

Alumnus soccer player renamed college mascot

Moraine Valley has produced many successful student-athletes who have gone on to do great things across the world in and out of athletics. This is a special series to highlight those alumni.

Patrick Hannigan had plenty of good times while attending school and playing soccer at Moraine Valley. He also had the honor of renaming the college mascot to the Cyclones.

Hannigan played defense and forward on Moraine Valley's soccer team in fall 1995 and 1996 under the leadership of Head Coach Nick Markulin. His second year, they were conference champions. Around that time, the college was looking to veer away from its mascot, Marauders, to something less contemptable.

The college held a campuswide contest to rename the mascot with ballots set up around campus. "I put Cyclones in there for the heck of it. It was just on the top of my head. Cyclone seemed nicer than tornado. It was something different," Hannigan recalled. "A lot of people thought Coyotes would win."

Nearly 200 suggestions were received from college employees and students as part of the spring 1997 competition. But among the five finalists – Coyotes, Cyclones, Falcons, Hawks and Wildcats – an all-campus vote ultimately chose Hannigan's option, made official in 1998 to coincide with the college's 30th anniversary celebration. The victory earned him a gift card to the college Bookstore.

His win was in part due to the efforts of Athletics director Bill Finn, who organized recreational basketball games at lunch throughout the week for the athletes. "Those games were epic. Sometimes they were more intense than soccer games. Coach Finn told everyone who played basketball during the week to vote, so they did," Hannigan said.

Aside from renaming the mascot, Hannigan was on a talented soccer team that won a championship and learned a lot from Coach Markulin. However, the biggest benefit that impacted his future was meeting his wife of 22 years through a teammate.

After leaving Moraine Valley, Hannigan entered the trades and ultimately returned to the college for welding classes. "Between Finn, Geoff Davis [athletic trainer], Markulin and Jim Greer [welding professor], they influenced me a lot. I think about them all the time," he said.

Hannigan is a union iron worker, and these days he watches his kids play softball, but he still fondly recalls his playing days at Moraine Valley.

"I really enjoyed my time at Moraine Valley," Hannigan said. "I learned a lot there from coaches and trainers and met a lot of different people. We had guys on the team from Greece, Argentina, Cyprus. Half the team spoke Spanish. Understanding different people was really cool. It opened your eyes a little more. I didn't have one bad minute there."

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