Powering Through with Nolan Cooney '16

In the fall of 2015, Nolan Cooney made his way to North Bridgton from his home state of Rhode Island. Nolan’s high school journey had not been an easy one.  During his teenage years, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, losing a large portion of his junior year during his subsequent treatment and recovery.  While a student-athlete at Bridgton, Nolan excelled both in the classroom and on the field, serving as the punter and placekicker for the Wolverine football team. Nolan was a leader among his classmates, and at Commencement in May of 2016, Nolan was recognized with the Edwin V. Spooner Award, one of the Academy’s highest graduating honors.

Nolan made his way to New York from Bridgton, enrolling in Syracuse University (SU), where he would go on complete his undergraduate studies and play four years of football for the Orange. As he neared the completion of his program at SU, Nolan was provided the opportunity to come back for one more season, meanwhile earning scholarship dollars to pursue his graduate studies in marketing.

This fall, Nolan, who wears number ninety-two for the Orange, will be the football team’s starting punter, in a season that might be like no other. Nolan spent the summer training, but, prior to that, like most of us, he found himself in quarantine with some extra time on his hands. During this bit of downtime, Nolan found the inspiration to launch his own podcast, “Power Through with Nolan Cooney.”

“I felt like this was a good opportunity to stay productive,” Nolan expressed. “The podcast focuses on topics important to me, including sports, positive mindset, nutrition, and personal health. I’m trying to create content that gives something back to my listeners.”

Nolan, who was new to podcasting prior to this, also found that this work quickly pushed him out of his own comfort zone. He recalls almost over-preparing for his first interviews and quickly learning that the art of listening was critically important. These conversations were many times, less about Nolan’s questions, and more about what his interviewees brought to the table and what they wanted to impart at that moment in time. Through these conversations, Nolan carries the ultimate goal of creating content that makes a positive difference for his listeners.

To date, Cooney has published seven episodes of “Power Through”, featuring professional athletes, coaches, and specialists in the healthcare field. When looking for subjects to feature on his show, Nolan thinks about those topics that are important to him and then reaches out to invite people to participate. No public figure is off-limits. “I shoot for the moon a lot,” Cooney shares. “There are swings and misses, but that’s part of the process. I’ve really enjoyed this project. Whenever I post a new show, it’s a really good feeling knowing I am accomplishing something.”

Nolan is a firm believer in the power of communication to open any doors. He recalls that his first connection with the Syracuse University football team didn’t come through traditional recruitment, but through his own initiative to research the punter at the time and make a personal connection via social media. His best advice for the Class of 2021 who is now walking in his shoes: “Reach out to as many people as you can. You may be surprised by how many will be willing to talk to you. You also have so many tools at your disposal now to make these connections. Don’t just reach out to say ‘I want a spot on the team, or, I want the job’, but reach out to learn from others. When you connect like that, you will get to know different people. They will all add value and learning to your life and will create connections that will only benefit you in the future.”

Nolan’s uplifting energy and drive, curiosity and grit, have certainly opened doors for him, and will no doubt continue to do so.

To listen to “Power Through with Nolan Cooney” simply search for his podcast on Spotify, Instagram, or Apple Podcasts.