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Ex-DL Lynn Madsen: 'Don James Turned Me Into a Man'

Former Huskies defensive tackle credits his legendary coach with helping him get through personal tragedy.

Lynn Madsen lives in Texas now, far removed from the football field, though the game keeps an extra strong grip on the Lone Star state.

Madsen came to the Huskies from San Diego as a skinny tight end and left as a muscular defensive tackle. He was athletic enough to break a high school rebound record held by basketball great Bill Walton, grabbing 32 one night.

From 1979 to 1983, Madsen showed his college football prowess in Seattle, earning a pair of Rose Bowl rings and sharing in five postseason games, rewarded with defensive MVP honors at the Aloha Bowl.

He was good enough to play two seasons in the USFL for Donald Trump's New Jersey Generals, another in the NFL for the Houston Oilers, and two more in the CFL for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Ottawa Rough Riders.

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That was the easy part. Tackling was second nature. Butting heads was the norm. 

Real life got in the way.

Personal tragedy has tested Madsen in ways that no offensive lineman or running back could ever do. He had to find strength to keep going, to be a good dad. He credits Husky coach Don James with preparing him for the rough times.

"I wouldn't be here today if the great football coach Don James hadn't turned me into a man," he says, "preparing me for all of life's incredible challenges."

Listen to a snippet of Madsen's personal story in this video  prepared by him. Lynn's a videographer by trade now. When he played for the Huskies, Madsen regularly was sought out by reporters because he was a good quote. You can see it in his personality that shines through here.