John Madden remembered at Schuylkill County training camp owned by son
DEER LAKE BORO., Pa. – Sudden and unexpected — terms often associated with someone’s passing. Now they’re being used to describe the death of NFL legend John Madden.
“I said how’s mom and dad?” Sam Matta said of his conversation on Christmas Eve with Mike Madden, John’s son. “Everything’s great, everything’s great. That’s the way he would always sign off basically on our conversations.”
Matta is a former sportswriter and the current spokesperson for Muhammad Ali’s former training camp, Fighter’s Heaven, in Deer Lake Borough, Schuylkill County. Mike Madden has owned the camp since 2016.https://a3af8edee6ca2eb4b802d60ebc56785e.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Local Trending News
Just days ago, Mike explained how much his dad loved hearing about the camp and the region.
“He’s in the loop and he gets excited every time I come back,” Mike Madden said. “He wants to know where I ate and who I hung out with and what we’re doing at the camp.”
John didn’t make it to the camp but his wife Virginia, Mike’s mother, was able to make it there for a visit.
“His mother Virginia is a wonderful lady,” Matta said. “I got to meet her on two different occasions. She came to the camp with Mike’s wife Suzy, two or three years ago they were in, and she thought this is really cool.”
It’s a legacy of coaching, broadcasting and a video game — a game for which Mike played an early prototype.
“‘You’re gonna run right into him,’ and I go, ‘Well, that’s exactly what happened,'” Mike Madden recalled of the conversation with his father as the played the game. “He says, ‘That’s what’s supposed to happen, ya dummy,’ and I’m like, ‘I gotta go back and play your game a little bit more.'”
And so a sports legend passes away, but the Madden name will remain fixed to another sports legend’s training ground right here in our region as Mike hoped his dad could soon visit the camp he encouraged him to buy.
“If John ever came to the camp, Mike said that bus is not stopping,” Matta recalled. “It’s going right past Canton (Ohio, the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame) and coming to Schuylkill County first.”