Frank Haraway, Denver Post
Two years after the great Byron “Whizzer” White was making national headlines as a University of Colorado football player and Rhodes scholar, along came another phenom from this state by the name of Lloyd Madden.
Madden didn’t have the glare of publicity that White enjoyed, playing for Colorado School of Mines, but his athletic and academic achievements were enormous, and the reason for his induction into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Madden, who was born in Dodge City, Kansas, and prepped in Manhattan, Kansas, had three passions in life – football, track and geological engineering. He was a rousing success in all three.
As the star of Colorado Mines’ undefeated Rocky Mountain Conference football champions in 1939, Madden led the nation’s small colleges in scoring with 141 points, which was more than White’s sectional scoring record of 122 compiled in 1937. Madden was All-Conference in both football and track and was named to the Little All-America football team.
Scholastically he had A’s and B’s in all but five of the 80 undergraduate courses he took in the exceedingly difficult field needed to obtain his degree in petroleum engineering. He graduated fifth in a class of 154 seniors, and was recognized in the 1940-41 edition of “Who’s Who Among Students in America.” Later, after one year of pro football and service in the Air Force, he took graduate work at the University of California and the University of Chicago.
Madden’s 1937 season was sensational by any measuring stick. Stockily built at 185 pounds in college, Madden played right halfback and most of his spectacular runs came on reverses and laterals, plus several eye-poppers on interceptions and on the business end of forward passes. His high point was a six-touchdown, 38-point performance against Western State, playing only two and a half quarters in a 71-7 rout.
Besides this game, here’s what he did: …Ran 13, 41 and 47 yards as Mines beat Colorado College 50-7, …Raced 23 yards for a touchdown and converted the extra point in a 20-7 win over Montana State, …Ran 3, 21 and 2 yards for touchdowns in a 32-0 rout of Nebraska Teachers of Chadron, …Ran 21 yards for the first score, then made a brilliant 40-yard run at the end of a 68-yard pass play for the winning touchdown in the last two minutes of Mines’ upset victory over Colorado State, … Closed his collegiate career with 24 points, six of them on an electrifying 90-yard interception return in a 38-6 conquest of Regis College.
In 1940, he accepted the “highest salary paid to a player at his position in the pro ranks” when he signed a $2,500 contract with the Chicago Cardinals. “I needed that money to live on and to complete my education after coming out of the Air Force,” Madden said.
Madden, by then a 200-pounder, was a starter at right halfback for the entire 1940 season on a team, which featured Pittsburgh great Marshall Goldberg at left half. Among Madden’s high moments with the Cardinals was a 62-yard run that keyed a 21-7 upset of the Chicago Bears. His 8.5 yard average was the best in the league but he did not carry the ball often enough to be eligible for the rushing title.
Scholastically he had A’s and B’s in all but five of the 80 undergraduate courses he took in the exceedingly difficult field needed to obtain his degree in petroleum engineering.