By Bret Clein, Assistant Sports Information
A common theme that comes up when you talk about Madison Fitzpatrick is family, and that is where her personality originated.
“Madison is extremely outgoing,” said teammate and best friend Alaina Chacon. “She is the most caring person that I have ever met. In all aspects of life, she really puts her best effort into improving herself and the people around her. She works really hard to create new perspectives on life.”
Madison grew up in Tallahassee as a Florida State fan, but it wasn’t until FSU began to recruit her that she realized what a special place it was.
She felt a strong family atmosphere, not only within the athletic department but across the entire university and especially within the beach volleyball program.
Staying close to home was always important to Fitzpatrick, and what better place to be than in her own backyard at Florida State with a program that is among the elite in collegiate beach volleyball.
“I have a really tight, close-knit family so it was really important to me to choose a place that was close to them because we just support each other,” said Fitzpatrick. “There is such a great support system. I just wanted them nearby to keep supporting me and I think my parents would go insane if I was far away.”
Fitzpatrick comes from a large family that loves to spend time together.
“I have a pretty big family and everyone is always together,” said Fitzpatrick. “Everyone cares for each other tremendously.”
When Madison was a child and still to this day, the Fitzpatrick family tries to spend as much time together as possible, going on family vacations and just hanging out with each other.
“We all care for each other so much,” said Fitzpatrick. “There is so much support, we all love each other tremendously. We love taking trips together. In everyday life, we are always so happy and feel so blessed to have been given each other as a family because we all get along so well.”
“We all care for each other so much,” said Fitzpatrick. “There is so much support, we all love each other tremendously. We love taking trips together. In everyday life, we are always so happy and feel so blessed to have been given each other as a family because we all get along so well.”Madison FItzpatrick
Brooke Niles was named the head coach for Florida State in June of 2015 and got right on the recruiting trail, with Madison as one of the prospects that she had to convince to stay at Florida State through the program’s coaching change.
“I had to re-recruit Madison because I had just gotten hired and she reopened her recruitment,” said Niles. “A big part of getting her back was helping her understand that the same type of person she is, is the same type of person we want to recruit to help grow the culture that it is today.”
That culture was one of family and competition and Madison would go on to be an integral part in making that known within the Florida State beach volleyball program.
“I credit her a lot for establishing that family culture and believing in the coaches,” said Niles. “She believed in us and that we were making the right decisions and trying to create a culture at Florida State.”
“Brooke is probably the kindest, most friendly coach I talked too, she is so sweet,” said Madison. “You can just tell that she is passionate about what she does. Just meeting her you can feed off her excitement and passion for beach volleyball.”
It seemed like a match made in heaven, and once Madison stepped on campus in 2017, it was clear that she would make an impact – and not just by her play in the sand. Madison’s family has always been important to her and she brought that to the team not just through creating a family atmosphere within the program but by getting her family involved.
“Her family is amazing,” said Chacon. “I love that I feel like I have a family here too. I am friends with her grandma. Her grandma texts me. That is how caring her family is. You can definitely see why Madison is the way that she is through her family. They have taught her so many important lessons and they share them with me too, as if I am their own kid.
“Her mom makes us dinner and shows us that she is always there. She is very active in my life and everyone else’s life on the team. Her family is just incredible.”
“Her family does a great job of bringing all of our families together,” said Niles. “In the same way, Madison connects to our players. She is always trying to get to know everybody including all of the new people. She is the captain of our team and a leader.
“Her mom, dad and sister do that with the parents. They try to connect them and include everyone in everything. If a player gets sick and one of the other parents is concerned Madison’s parents will help ease their fears about everything in the whole process of what it is to be a student-athlete and what happens when you get sick.”
Madison fits right in with the rest of her family, as seen in her infectious smile from across the courts. She supports her teammates through the tough times and cheers them on during their highest moments.
Out of the sand, Fitzpatrick is the first one to come up to someone and ask how they’re doing, and if there is anything she can do for them.
That attitude was shaped by her family but, also by her first year at FSU.
“My experience as a freshman was huge in shaping me as an athlete and as a person,” said Fitzpatrick. “Getting taken out of the lineup in the middle of the season gave me so much perspective and taught me that there is so much more to a team than just playing. I really immersed myself in cheering and being the best off-court teammate that I could. I think that has made me a stronger leader in the future.
“Getting put back in for the NCAA Championship I was able to use what I learned off the court to my advantage. My freshman year was big into shaping me into the hard-working person that I am.”
Outside of beach volleyball, Madison wants to pursue a career in broadcast journalism, sharing her infectious personality with those outside of Florida State and the beach volleyball world.
“I love writing. One day I want to write and publish a book. I love public speaking and broadcasting,” said Fitzpatrick. “I want to be a broadcast journalist and I have taken a few steps in the pursuit of that. This year I was able to be the ACC Network in-game host for some of the baseball games.
“My main passion outside of volleyball is broadcast journalism and I hope to take that far in life in the future.”
There are multiple sides to Madison. When you meet her she is so bubbly and you think how is this person competitive, but when she does play she has another side of her that gets really fiery. She is a very hard worker. She wants to be perfect at everything, but understands that no one is perfect.Brooke Niles
Whether it is the infectious smile or constant acts of kindness – it’s easy to guess where that came from, the Fitzpatrick family. Her parents Lori and Michael Fitzpatrick raised a leader on and off the court and one that has instilled that a family and caring atmosphere that is also competitive is of utmost importance.
The Fitzpatrick family’s fingerprints are all over the FSU beach volleyball program, even coming from her sister Lexi who has stepped into her own role by helping tell the story of everyone on the team through social media.
Next time you stop by the beach volleyball courts and see a bright smile and curly hair you will know who it is and know her importance to a program that is constantly ranked in the top-5 and competing for national titles.
We are all people working together for the same goal. That is all there is to it because Madison is the person to make it so equalized and has shown that everyone plays such an important part whether you are in the lineup or not, she makes everyone feel so important.Alaina Chacon