Northern Michigan Remembers Paul McMullen: ‘The Pride of Cadillac’
The man known as ‘The Pride of Cadillac’ is being remembered, both for his athletic accomplishments and his impact on generations of runners.
Paul McMullen was a standout athlete at Cadillac High School and went on to compete in track and cross country at Eastern Michigan University, eventually taking his talents to the 1996 U.S. Olympic team.
McMullen died Thursday in a tragic skiing accident at Caberfae near Cadillac.
The resort says McMullen was an experienced skier who grew up skiing at Caberfae.
The resort says they’ve known Paul and his family for years.
“I’ve known Paul my entire life, all the way back to grade school and he’s a great guy, just a really sad accident and we’re going to miss him. At this time our thoughts and prayers are with Paul and the entire McMullen family,” said Mountain Operations Manager Tim Meyer.
McMullen leaves behind his wife and three children
Paul earned the nickname ‘The Pride of Cadillac’ for an impressive list of athletic accomplishments, but also for what he did off the track.
Benzie Central Track and Field and Cross Country Coach Asa Kelly first met Paul McMullen in the 1990’s, and saw the future Olympian run a sub four minute mile.
That’s when Kelly knew, McMullen was a one of a kind talent.
“His career lasted quite a while, still today considered one of the greatest milers in U.S. history as far as Michigan, he’s one of the names that comes up first in the state of Michigan as far as one of the greatest distance runners in Michigan history,” said Kelly.
And while his collegiate and Olympic feats are what McMullen is best known for, in recent years, he became perhaps just as well known for his impact on the next generations of runners.
Runners, like Susan Huckle.
“It was so much more to him that. The runner, and he always said, I believe in you as a runner, but I believe in you as a person first, and so that was always nice to hear and nice to know he also had my back,” said Huckle.
McMullen also founded the Chariots of Fire Running Club, spreading his passion for running even more.
“When five year olds are out running, or seven year olds are out running, it’s just something amazing to see and he always said he just wanted us to have fun, and that’s what it was about,” said Huckle.
And that passion for running and for life, will be Paul’s lasting legacy.
“He’s already shared that with so many people, and hopefully as a coach, and as a father, and as a teacher I can share that same kind of passion with the kids I get for to work with every day and say hey, you only get one life, and you’d better live the most out of that life, and that’s what that man did,” said Kelly.
It’s hard to put all of Paul’s accomplishments into a simple list, but here are just a few of his many titles as a world class athlete:
He was an 8-time NCAA All American.
At Eastern Michigan University, he still owns the indoor mile record – set at 3:57.
In 19-93 and 94 he won the MAC title for the 1-mile race.
And won the indoor 1500 meter in ‘92, ‘94, and ‘95.
He also won the indoor 800 meter MAC title in ‘95
That set him up to become a member of the 1996 U.S Olympic team, where he ran the 1500 meter at 3:34.
He also ran the 800 meter in 1:45.