Forever a Gopher: Laurence Maroney

Published 8:13 pm Friday, July 13, 2018

Gopher great will be inducted into University of Minnesota Hall of Fame

By Gopher Sports


University of Minnesota great Laurence Maroney will be inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame on Sept. 13.

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Maroney was one of the best to ever wear the Maroon and Gold. He ranks second all-time in rushing yards (3,933) and 100-yard games (21) and fifth in touchdowns (32) despite playing only three seasons at Minnesota. Maroney is the only Gopher to rush for 10-plus touchdowns in three straight seasons and owns three of the seven longest runs (93 yards, 80 yards and 80 yards) in school history.

We recently caught up with Maroney to see what he is up to today and reminisce about his time in Dinkytown.

Gopher Sports: First of all, what have you been up to these days?

Laurence Maroney: Just chilling. Raising my daughter. Doing some real estate and trying to stay active.

GS: What did it mean when you found out you would be inducted into the “M” Club Hall of Fame?

LM: It means a lot. It’s something I never could have imagined. I came here to go to school and further my football career. It lets me know that all my hard work went noticed. It pays off. It means a lot especially since a lot of other great players came before me and are going to come after me. To be part of this select group means everything.

GS: Let’s talk about some of your most memorable games. Against Tulsa in 2005, you ran for 203 yards on 21 carries and scored on runs of 67 and 73 yards in the first quarter.

LM: It was a night game and I think it got delayed. I just really wanted to get out there and play. I did my thing and didn’t come in after the second quarter. (Editor’s note: Maroney had 16 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns at halftime).

GS: And that double overtime win against Purdue in 2005?

LM: Yeah that was one to remember. I had the ball in my hand close to 50 times. It was just crazy. I did my thing that day. (Editor’s note: Maroney rushed 46 times for 217 yards, caught five passes for 59 yards, returned two kicks for 57 yards and attempted one pass. He totaled 333 all-purpose yards, which ranks second all-time in program history).

GS: What about the Oregon bowl game? It was fourth down and you needed two yards for a first down late in the game. You made a guy miss in the backfield and got the first down helping the team secure the win.

LM: That was my craziest play of all-time. I was so focused on the game that I wasn’t in tune to what down and yard marker it was. I didn’t even know it was fourth down. I was just trying to get the first down and I couldn’t understand why everyone was so happy. I do this on the regular so I was wondering what was so significant about that first down that everyone was so happy. Somebody told me, and I was glad I didn’t know. It might have put pressure on me to do something I wouldn’t normally have done. I just thought they were excited because I made the guy miss.

GS: What is your favorite memory of being a student-athlete at Minnesota?

LM: Playing alongside Marion Barber. I learned so much from that guy. He is one of the best running backs I ever had the pleasure to play with. It was really just the things we were able to do as a duo. We realized how much we could both help the team. There was so much knowledge that I learned from that guy.

GS: What about the stories of you guys riding around on mopeds together?

LM: It would get Mase (coach Glen Mason) so worked up. Marion and I were coming through campus one time and there was a red light. At the red light was Coach Mason and he had the look of a lifetime. A once in a lifetime look. He saw not one, but two of his running backs rolling way too fast through campus. Marion and I laughed so hard.

GS: What’s another good story you have for us?

LM: The funniest one was when they were recruiting me. I had never been to a fancy restaurant and on my visit Mase took me to one in town. I had never heard of it and I got there and didn’t know what to get from the menu. I just wanted a cheeseburger so he had the chef take his best steak and grind it up into a cheeseburger. I was sitting there eating it and he kept watching me eat. I was wondering why he was watching me eat it so intently. He finally asked me, ‘How good was the burger?’ I said it was alright, but you could have taken me to McDonald’s. The look on his face was priceless, and I feel like he almost didn’t even give me a scholarship after that.

GS: What was your NFL experience like?

LM: It was once in a lifetime. Marion left the year before and went in the fourth round. We had identical numbers every year so to go in the first round was unreal and shows timing is everything. I played in every big stage you could think of with the Patriots and played with countless future Hall of Famers. Being able to play along those guys is something I can never get back.

GS: When we talk to a lot of the current players, they talk about growing up and watching you play.

LM: Wow, I never heard that one.

GS: They really do and our question for you is what advice do you have for those guys?

LM: You telling me that just now almost feels better than even finding out I was going to the Hall of Fame. I remember growing up and watching guys like Randy Moss and a bunch of other great players and that gave me motivation so to know guys used to watch me is crazy. I just knew I came in and did everything I could to help the Gophers win. To know guys watched me shows that everything I did in life was worth it.

As far as advice, one thing I know about this sport is work hard and it’s going to pay off. You have to be patient and keep grinding no matter what. There was a time I was going to quit and was questioning my decision about coming to Minnesota. The coaches saw something in me that I didn’t see. I called my mom the first two weeks and told her I made the wrong choice. I remember Thomas Tapeh pulling me aside and told me to keep grinding and keep doing you. I kept focused and kept grinding until finally I got my chance and took advantage of what Minnesota gave me.