Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

Alumni Profile: John Finnigan

John Finnigan headshotJohn “Finn” Finnigan was born and raised in Minnesota. As “ol’ #5” puts it, “the land of 10,000 lakes and a few mud holes.” Growing up in Minnesota, it’s no surprise that hockey is Finnigan’s favorite sport, a sport he still plays in a Milwaukee adult league.

Finnigan was a three-sport athlete at St. Bernard High School in St. Paul. Those sports were hockey, football, and baseball, and he earned All-Conference honors in all three. After graduating from St. Bernard’s in 1986, Finnigan moved on to UW-Eau Claire where he became another three-sport athlete. This time it was hockey, football, and track, and he earned All-Conference honors in football. When Finnigan was a senior, he ran the 200 meter race against freshman Bill Schroeder from UW-La Crosse (yes, the same Bill Schroeder who played for the Packers).

“Schroeder was the fastest person I ever saw run live,” says Finnigan. “He won that race going away. I even believe he was throttling down at the finish line.”

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire with a degree in Mathematics, he came to Racine to do some roofing work until he could land a job in his chosen field. He ended up going to a Raiders game and decided to tryout. When he came out to practice, Finnigan thought he didn’t have a chance making the team.

“The guys were so big and fast, there was no way I would make it,” he remembers thinking.

After that first practice Finnigan was asked to sign a contract and it wasn’t too long after that when he cracked the starting lineup. He earned 1992 rookie of the year honors. He went on to earn team most valuable player honors several time as well as numerous conference and league honors along with being selected to play in several all-star games. Not bad for a guy who didn’t think he would make the team.

What Finnigan misses most about the Raiders are the guys.

“We always had 40-45 guys at practice,” he remembers. “We had fun at practice. We worked hard at practice to get better. I took more pleasure and enjoyment in throwing a block for one of my teammates than catching a touchdown pass, especially if we scored on that play.”

Finnigan’s football and Raiders career ended in 1997 when he suffered a lacerated kidney in the national championship game against the Marlboro Shamrocks at Horlick Field.

Finnigan is the proud father of Tyler (17) and Sidney (13). According to Finnigan, Tyler is the creative type.

“He certainly didn’t get it from me. I can barely draw a stick man,” he says. “Sidney is a standout in volleyball and softball. She often has to move up and play with the high school girls where she holds her own.”

John works for Local 599 in Milwaukee where he works with cement. He is currently working at two new schools being built in Oak Creek. The Racine Raiders would like to thank John for coming to watch that initial Raiders game and deciding to tryout.