By Brigid Morrissey

Maddie has found her joy in making people stronger in every way. 
Photos by Patti Hartog; Video by Brigid Morrissey

I used to watch Maddie Richards play basketball because she is the same age as my oldest sister. She was always a leader, and she had the skill to back it up. That’s probably because…

she started playing basketball at the age of 6, along with every other sport under the sun (she’s even tried her hand at bocce ball). She received an athletic scholarship to play basketball at Lincoln Memorial University while earning a degree in exercise science. In 2007, Maddie took a graduate assistant position coaching the women’s basketball team at Lenoir-Rhyne University. She seized this opportunity to get her masters in counseling for two reasons: The first is that Maddie wanted a well-rounded resume. The second is that it helped her learn how to communicate.

Following her two years as a graduate assistant, there was a low year of hiring in the coaching community, forcing Maddie to move back home. She felt lost, and as a recent college graduate, I can say that feeling is NOT lost on me. But let’s rewind back to my senior year of high school, six years ago, the year Maddie was trying to find her way, the year our paths crossed again.

Brigid Morrissey (far right) stands alongside Maddie who coached the semi-state game against Ben Davis High School in 2010. Their record was 25-2 for the season — the furthest any girls’ team had gone at Floyd Central. 

My high school basketball team had an opportunity to make waves in the state tournament. Maddie was hired as our assistant coach, and looking back, her role on the team was imperative to our success. The ability she had to relate to everyone on the team was something I had never seen in a coach up to that point, and she made it look effortless. And let me tell you, with 20 girls who are thrown together in a highly competitive environment day after day, attempting to keep the peace is like trying to nail jello to a tree. But somehow Maddie found a way to make that jello stick.

During that time, Maddie also found refuge at a gym in Floyds Knobs called Anytime Fitness. “I knew I had found my niche.” Maddie works as a personal trainer and leads classes that she can design herself. “My whole thing is making fitness fun. I want it to be the highlight of your day. You can be happy and healthy.” The fun part and also the most challenging for Maddie is tailoring a workout to each person that satisfies everyone’s fitness level. Some of Maddie’s other goals are to provide a place for her clients to connect with someone else. “Anyone can run someone into the ground, but the challenge is to get them to come back.” The video below shows Maddie at her best.

When it was time to hang up her high tops, Maddie found a way to channel it into helping others improve themselves. “My personal goal is to aspire to inspire people to be better versions of themselves.” Maddie loves what she does, and says it would be a hard thing to give up. She is a trainer that wears many caps — a teacher, a creative, a therapist, a friend. “I’m helping my clients meet physical goals, but the mental change is the best part.”