Feb. 25, 2009
IOWA CITY, IA – Students really have three things to look forward to during the school year: winter break, spring break, and summer break. All told, that’s a little over four months of rest and relaxation. Sure, a lot of students opt to work or take a class over break, but many also take vacations. Vacation? Break? These are foreign concepts to University of Iowa junior Paul Chaney, Jr., who is quite possibly one of the busiest people on campus.
“There’s a really tiny break in there somewhere,” Chaney says of his typical school year. “But most of the time I’m practicing for something. Keeping busy helps you prioritize, though. It forces you to keep focused on what’s important.”
Chaney is part of a select group of individuals in University of Iowa history that are multi-sport athletes. In the fall, Chaney plays for the Iowa Hawkeye football team as a wide receiver. Almost immediately after football season is over, Chaney starts the indoor track season where he shows off his impressive speed in the 60 meters and the 200 meters. After that, there’s the outdoor track season where he runs the 100 and 200 meters and the 400-meter relay. Once the summer hits, he’s back to working towards the next football season. Oh yeah, and on top of all that he has classes, homework and tests.
Chaney’s busy schedule hasn’t hampered his performance so far this indoor season. In this past weekend’s Iowa Invite, his 60-meter time of 6.80 is a new collegiate best and ranks third all-time in the Iowa Indoor record books. Additionally, Chaney holds another of Iowa’s top-ten 60-meter times, as well as the sixth all-time 200-meter time of 21.45.
“My goals for the season would be to do well in the 60 meters and 200 meters at the Big Ten Championships and hopefully qualify for the NCAA Championships,” Chaney says. “I want our team to place high in the Big Ten Championships. Honestly, with football and track, I am just looking to help the team any way I can.”
Speaking of contribution, Chaney thought about the possibilities of some of his football teammates taking his lead and running track, or some of his fellow track and field teammates putting on the helmet and shoulder pads.
“The Prater brothers (DB Shaun and WR Shane) could run track, they’re really fast. I also bet any of the throwers out here could play on the line. They’re big enough for sure.” In all seriousness, Chaney realizes that being a multi-sport athlete isn’t easy and he knows that he is among elite company.
“It’s a privilege to be able to do both sports and compete at this high of a competition level. Not a lot of people can say they’ve done that, and that’s cool.”
Some notable former Iowa multi-sport athletes are Tim Dwight, Bashir Yamini, Jeremy Allen, and Tim Dodge. Dwight is one of the more recognizable faces, due to his 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIII with the Atlanta Falcons against the Denver Broncos. During his time at Iowa, he earned all-America honors in both football and track. All of these standout multi-sport athletes continued onto the NFL after their time at Iowa, and Chaney hopes to do the same.
Regardless of what the future holds for Chaney, he has made his mark on the University of Iowa as one of those special individuals who wants to do more than the average student-athlete.
Name: Paul “Pac-Man” Chaney, Jr.
Birthday: June 22, 1987
Major(s)/Minor(s): Recreational Studies
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Biggest Pet Peeve: People who talk too much
Favorite TV Show: Family Guy
Food I couldn’t live without: Fish and Spaghetti
Favorite NFL team/athlete: Indianapolis Colts / Reggie Wayne
Most embarrassing movie I own: Cabin Fever