Multi-sport athletes are key at McIntosh County Academy, a coastal Georgia school with only about 385 students. The school just started a women’s wrestling team this year, but despite pleading, McMahan somehow declined the invitation.
The McMahan family, who moved to Darien from Dade County in northwest Georgia before McMahan was ninth grade, will continue to do what they can, however. McMahan’s sister, Reagan, is a freshman who runs cross country and track and field, plays flag football and soccer, and is a cheerleader. Their seventh-grade brother, Blake, plays football and baseball and runs around the country.
“We grew up playing sports and we are very competitive,” Madi said. “Many times I go out and play baseball with my brother or kick a soccer ball with my sister. We like to play all kinds of things.”
Madi is the daughter of associate head football coach and offensive coordinator Jamey McMahan, but her journey to becoming an outstanding multi-sport athlete didn’t seem likely at first. Jamey put her on a football team when she was 7.
“She didn’t like it,” Jamey said. “When she was little, she always said she never wanted to play sports. Then she started to have success.
Cross-country was next. Madi started running with her dad, a jogger, in elementary school and hasn’t stopped. She first played basketball in sixth grade. She is now a two-year college entry.
Football didn’t come until his freshman year. The team’s kicker was a graduate.
“I love watching football, and my dad is a football coach, and I’ve been in this all my life, so when I had the chance, I wanted to do it,” Madi said. “As a sort of joke at first, I tried to see if I could kick a soccer ball, and it really worked. I started training and became the kicker.”
She scored 21 extra points last season and went 6-6 in one game.
Madi’s sixth sport was flag football. The GHSA sanctioned it as a championship sport in the fall of 2021, also when Madi was first playing for the traditional football team. Madi was a flag football running back the first season, then quarterback for the team last fall.
Madi’s unplanned football adventures made him a member of four active sports teams over a two-week period last year. With football seasons underway, basketball practice began Oct. 24 and the state cross-country meet concluded Nov. 4. She also participated in a strength and conditioning program during the school day.
The coaches are pragmatic with their demands, especially during school, but summer training – which is optional – provided the best display of Madi’s dedication. She remembers going to football practice in the morning for an hour and then going cross-country, where she ran for another hour. After lunch, she would be back at school for two-hour basketball practices.
“I like to challenge myself in different things, and I like sports, so I like to stick around those as much as possible,” she said.
McMahan committed last weekend to Brenau University, the only school willing to let her play two sports – soccer and athletics. She is the most outstanding in football. A forward, she has scored more than 60 goals over the past two seasons and has been recognized by all states. Brenau will also receive a 4.2-GPA student who ranks second in her class.
Asked to describe his daughter’s personality, Jamey McMahan said he thought it was fitting that manager Todd Willis gave her the nickname Madi Ice a few years ago for her ability to go to big occasions without talking or drawing unnecessary attention to herself.
“She doesn’t like talking in front of people until she’s really comfortable,” Jamey McMahan said. ”I think the sport gave him a way to express himself. Sport is a way to show your personality without having to say much. She is the most motivated and dedicated person I know. She wants to succeed in everything she does.