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MIAC Profiles of Excellence: Tim Madson, Bethel University
by Rich Mies, CSN Mapping the MIAC Columnist
A season-ending leg injury at the beginning of their freshman year leads more than a few college athletes to stop competing at the varsity level. Many who do return to the playing field see their performance, speed and agility diminished from the injury. Tim Madson suffered a season-ending injury in a preseason scrimmage his first year at Bethel University yet he bounced back to become one of the dominant basketball players in the MIAC as well as one of the all-time scoring leaders in Bethel history.
“We were scrimmaging against St. Cloud State before the start of the season my first year,” recalled Tim. “I felt pain in my right leg, kind of like a cramp. It got to the point I had to come out of the game. At the time, I thought it was just a cramp. When I woke up the next day, it was still painful and it didn’t seem to be getting any better. I went to the doctor. A bone scan revealed that it was a stress fracture in my right fibula. Later, I found out I had another one in my foot. I ended up sitting out the season.”
After resting his leg to allow the fracture to mend, Tim returned to the Royals in fall 2005. He earned a spot in the rotation, seeing action in all 26 of Bethel’s games. He was fifth on the team in scoring, with an average of 6.7 points per game.
The following year, Tim had a breakout season. He led the MIAC in scoring, hitting at a 20.2 points per game clip. He ranked second in the league in free throw accuracy (87.0%) and was among the league leaders in three-pointers made and three-point shooting accuracy. He led the Royals to an 18-8 overall record. They finished third in the conference with a 13-7 record. In the opening round of the MIAC Playoffs, Bethel was upset by St. Olaf, falling 81-79 in overtime. Tim was named to the All-MIAC First Team.
Last year, Tim again led the Royals in scoring; his 573 points scored was the seventh-highest single season output in school history. On Jan. 21, 2007, he became the 23rd player in Bethel history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. For the MIAC season, Tim finished second in the league in scoring, with an average of 20.6 ppg. He was second in the league in free throw percent (87.1%), sixth in three-pointers made (39) and among the league leaders in steals and three-point shooting accuracy. He was named to the All-MIAC First Team as the Royals posted an 11-9 record in league play, taking fifth place. They topped Concordia, 75-64, in the quarterfinals of the MIAC Playoffs before losing a thrilling 69-68 decision at St. Thomas to close the year 16-11.
This season, Tim is averaging 17.5 points a game and again is Bethel’s leading scorer. He is third in the MIAC scoring race, as the Royals have gotten off to a 10-2 start overall, and are 5-2 in league play.
For his career, Tim has scored 1,463 points, ranking him eighth among Bethel’s all-time leaders. He is on pace to become one of the top five scorers in school history. He also is on pace to close his career as one of the top two free-throw shooters in BU history.
His shot selection and uncanny ability to score has frustrated MIAC defenses. However, it is Tim’s work ethic and leadership that impresses Jeff Westlund, who has been BU’s head coach since Tim’s second season after serving as an assistant at Bethel for a decade. “Tim’s leadership in our program sets a foundation for our guys,” Westlund said. “His competitiveness and toughness pushes our team to get better every day. As talented as he is, his work ethic and determination produces the incredible play making that we see game in and game out. The basketball intelligence he possesses sets an example for our program in thinking the game, on–court decision-making and adapting the components of our system to the challenge of each game and each opponent. Tim loves winning and will do what it takes to win. However, the greatest mark that Tim will leave on our program is his impeccable character and his love for his teammates. He has high standards for living life which he mixes well with a dry sense of humor.”
Tim grew up in Redwood Falls, MN, a community of 5,500 about 120 miles southwest of the Twin Cities. He is the youngest of three. “I have one sister and a brother,” he said. “Kari played golf and volleyball in high school and went to Bethany Lutheran for college. Joe played basketball and golf in high school. He went on to play basketball at Bethel, graduating in 2003.”
He attended Redwood Valley High, which is a consolidated district encompassing the towns of Belview, Morton, Redwood Falls and the surrounding area. Like Joe, he played golf and basketball. He was on the Cardinals’ varsity golf team for four seasons. The team reached the state meet in Tim’s sophomore and junior years. “We took seventh as a team both years,” he said. “I played very well my junior year, shooting 74-81 to placed 12th individually.”
On the basketball court, Tim played on the JV his freshman year. As a sophomore, he was one of the first players off the bench and helped Redwood Valley finish third at the State Class 2A Tourney. By midseason of his junior year, Tim had worked his way into the starting lineup. That year, the Cardinals lost to Worthington in the Section semifinals.
In his senior year, Tim was team captain and earned All-Conference honors. The Cardinals lost only four games all season, but the last of them came in the Section final, as they fell to Pipestone.
Away from sports, Tim was active in the youth group at his church throughout high school. He also was a member of the National Honor Society.
Tim was recruited by many colleges, including most of the schools in the MIAC. Because of Jeff, Tim knew Bethel well, and he liked what the school had to offer. He was familiar with the coaches and the philosophy at Bethel. “Coach Westlund and Coach [Bob] Bjorklund came down and watched me play in my senior year,” Tim said. “But my mind was pretty much made up that I’d be going to Bethel.”
One of the highlights of his time at Bethel was a trip to Sweden and Norway with the basketball team. They were there for two weeks before the school year started this fall. “We played a couple of games and did a lot of sightseeing,” he said. It was a great experience, and was a good team bonding experience.”
Away from the court, Tim has been active in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee for two years. The group looks out for the well-being of the student-athletes on campus, promotes support of BU athletics and encourages attendance at home games and events. “This year, I am one of the two Bethel reps to the MIAC SAAC,” he said.
Tim also works in the Sports Information Office. He has been part of the stats crew for football for two years and is also in charge of setting up the sound equipment for home soccer games.
He is a Finance and Accounting major, sporting a 3.74 GPA and will graduate in May. He has been an intern with Cargill since the summer of 2008 and plans to start working in their accounting department after graduation.
For Tim, the experiences he has had at Bethel have made his time there memorable and rewarding. “It’s been great to have the opportunity to play basketball and get a good education,” he said. “Being here has allowed me to experience that while being surrounded by a Christian environment.”
[The photos are used courtesy of the Bethel University Sports Information Office; actions shots were taken by Brad Person.]
The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) is widely respected as one of the premier conferences in nearly every sport competed in Division III. Year after year, the MIAC produces teams and individual student-athletes who excel in their given sport. At the same time, the MIAC schools maintain a reputation of commitment to academic excellence. This article is one in a series of spotlights on some of the young men and women who represent the league’s commitment to excellence, both in the classroom and athletics during the 2008-09 academic year.
This feature will be included in the “Profiles of Excellence 2008-2009″ book which will be available for order at RDM Publishing. It will feature profiles of student-athletes from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, written by CSN’s “Mapping the MIAC” columnist Rich Mies.