Kansas State University

K-State running back Mike McCoy medically retires from football with spinal condition

K-State running back Mike McCoy eyes bigger role in 2018

K-State running back Mike McCoy eyes a bigger role in 2018. The 6-foot-2, 228-pound running back from Topeka is ready to show off his versatility at K-State's annual spring football game on April 21.
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K-State running back Mike McCoy eyes a bigger role in 2018. The 6-foot-2, 228-pound running back from Topeka is ready to show off his versatility at K-State's annual spring football game on April 21.

After a year of uncertainty, Kansas State running back Mike McCoy has finally found closure for his football career.

McCoy, a bruising 6-foot-2 rusher from Topeka, announced Tuesday that he is medically retiring from the sport because of lingering injury issues that have kept him off the field since the 2017 Cactus Bowl.

“I never thought I would see the day where I would have to hang the cleats up, but I have a condition I was born with called spinal stenosis, which will no longer allow me to play,” McCoy said in a statement. “I’ve seen multiple doctors this past year to try and get cleared, but the risk is just too great.”

McCoy had two years of eligibility remaining and the Wildcats will retain him on an athletic scholarship. He plans to remain involved with the K-State football team in a to-be-determined capacity.

“I want to thank God, my family, my teammates and fans for all the support throughout my sports career. I love my teammates and all the people I met throughout this journey,” McCoy said. “I also want to thank Coach Klieman and his staff for giving me the opportunity for my next journey. It hurts not being able to play anymore, but I’m going to trust God’s plan that He’ll be with me every step of the way in my new path.”

McCoy’s health status has long been a mystery for K-State football fans. Former coach Bill Snyder never went into specifics about his injuries, but left the door open for him to return to action at some point.

But that is no longer a possibility.

It’s unfortunate, given his talent. McCoy played in three games as a redshirt freshman, totaling 55 yards on 10 carries. The first thing that comes to mind for most fans when they think of McCoy is the punishing touchdown run he pulled off against Charlotte that season.

McCoy, playing in his second college game, took a handoff at the 15-yard line and then flattened a perfectly positioned defender on his way to the end zone. The crowd at Snyder Family Stadium gasped and cheered as he delivered the highlight of an otherwise forgettable game. Then he looked like a rising star last spring, before he missed all of last season and was permanently sidelined with injuries.

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Kellis Robinett covers Kansas State athletics for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. A winner of more than a dozen national writing awards, he lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.

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