Thomas Mahoney '90

Graduation Year


Sport(s) and position(s):

  • Football, defensive tackle (1985, 1986) and center (1988, 1989)
  • Wrestling, 190 lbs.

Millikin major: Mathematics, with a minor in physical education

  • Other degrees:
    • Master’s degree in education, Loyola University, 1992
    • Doctorate in education, Western Illinois University, 2017

Current employment: Superintendent, Oregon Community Unit School District 220, in Oregon, Ill.

Personal Big Blue stats/athletic achievements:

  • Football
    • Three-year letterman
    • CCIW Honorable Mention All-Conference, 1988
    • CCIW First Team All-Conference, 1989
    • Captain of 1989 undefeated team (first undefeated team in 28 years)
    • Team selected to NCAA playoffs, 1989
  • Wrestling
    • Four-year letterman
    • Captain, 1988-89
    • Most Valuable Wrestler, 1988-89
    • School record – Most wins in a season (35), 1988-89
    • CCIW Champion, 1987-1988, 1988-1989
    • Qualified for NCAA tournament, 1987-1988, 1988-1989
    • NCAA All-American (7th Place), 1988-1989 (35-4-1)
    • NCAA Scholastic All-American, 1988-1989 (first time in school history that a wrestler was both an All-American and a scholastic All-American)

Why did you choose MU?
The people at the school, Carl Poelker ’68, Doug Neibuhr ’75 and Mike Poe ’74, were integral in my recruiting process. They were honest and saw more in me than I saw in myself.

Aside from Big Blue athletics, what activities did you participate in as a student at MU?

  • Delta Sigma Phi fraternity
  • Student Education Association
  • Math Education Association 

What was your most memorable moment as a Millikin student-athlete?
There were two – Beating Augustana in 1989 at Augustana (I believe we hadn’t won a game on Augustana’s field in a decade), and winning the CCIW title in the final 30 seconds in 1989.

What are some of your accomplishments since graduating from Millikin University?

  • I married the love of my life (Angela Schlueter Mahoney, class of 1991) and have two daughters who are my inspiration.
  • I have presented at the state and national level on topics related to education leadership.
  • I was named the 2015-16 Superintendent of Distinction by the Illinois Association of School Administrators.
  • I was named the new teacher of the year in my first year of teaching at Wheaton North.
  • I have coached all-state wrestlers and football players. 
  • I was a founding member of the MU Football Alumni Advisory Board.
  • I was the founder of the Millikin Alumni Educational Administrators School of Education Interview Boot Camp.

When not supporting the Big Blue, what is your favorite thing to do?
Help people grow and learn. I love my work and what it can do for students, adults and a community.

Who is your most memorable MU professor/coach/staff and why?
Carl Poelker 68 [former head football coach] and Mike Poe 74 [former assistant football coach]. They both saw in me what I couldn’t see in myself and provided the right amount of accountability and caring to help me get there.

How has your experience as a Big Blue athlete prepared/helped make you successful?
I pass on the lessons I learned from my time at Millkin on a daily basis. While at MU I learned grit. Grit is a distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals, even in the face of discomfort, rejection and a lack of visible progress for years, or even decades. I try to help all I work with to see in themselves what I can see in them.

What advice do you give to current Millikin students about preparing for life after graduation?
Be of service to all you encounter … your family, your friends, your employer or employees. When you give freely it comes back to you tenfold.

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” - Horace Mann