COLUMBIA — It is test day, and Lindsay McCoy, a junior on the Missouri women’s soccer team, is singing. Some students around her are sweating through another exam they are woefully unprepared for, moving pen over paper in hopes something intelligible will come through. In contrast, McCoy rolls through the overmatched test to the tune of her singing.
“I make up songs to help me remember things,” McCoy said. “I have a tendency to sing during tests.”
The student-athlete-composer, who was named to the Academic All-District 7 University Division Soccer team by ESPN the Magazine last week, has achieved success in the classroom as well as on the soccer pitch. McCoy, a dean’s-list student who admits to being “kind of a little bit of a perfectionist,” has found ways to balance her responsibilities.
At first glance, McCoy looks like any other student on campus. Yet she is unique in that each weekend the Tigers defender works to turn back the best offensive attacks the Big 12 Conference can throw at her.
On the soccer pitch, McCoy has started all 18 games for Missouri (12-6 overall, 6-4 in Big 12). She has four assists and leads the team in minutes played this year with 1,605. She is also one of the most academically successful student-athletes in the conference, earning Academic All-Big 12 first team honors last year.
“That’s the type of players we have,” Missouri coach Bryan Blitz said. “Academics are very important to them. Certainly Lindsay does a good job with that. She’s a student first and an athlete second.”
McCoy said her priorities are influenced by her parents, Wayne and Sherry McCoy.
“They always made sure school came before everything,” Lindsay McCoy said. “They put that in my head.”
Her love of soccer gives McCoy the motivation to put in the work necessary to succeed at both school and sports.
“First of all, soccer is just something I love to do,” Lindsay McCoy said. “It’s easy to find motivation for soccer. For school, I think my parents have gotten the point across how important school is. I understand the importance of putting in the time.”
McCoy showed that as an honor roll student at Blue Springs High School, just east of Kansas City.
“She was always a pretty athletic child,” Sherry McCoy said. “She wanted to be involved. We told her she could do whatever she wanted so long as she made good grades.
“It kind of backfired. She kept adding more things and she kept getting the grades.”
Wayne and Sherry McCoy have been to many of Lindsay’s games. They understand the responsibilities of being a Division I athlete.
“It is hard,” Sherry McCoy said. “When you’re playing at the level she is, you miss a lot of school.”
Lindsay McCoy said she speaks with her professors before road games, letting them know she will be gone, making arrangements to get notes from classmates, and seeing about any tests or quizzes she will need to make up. McCoy said her organized style helps her keep control of academic commitments while on the road.
“You’ve got to be organized,” McCoy said. “...I think I’m kind of a little bit of a perfectionist. Everything has to be in order. My house has to be really clean.”
McCoy’s teammate and fellow defender, Kat Tarr, said it can be difficult not being in class sometimes, but McCoy does the work necessary to keep up on school work.
“She takes a lot of time on academics,” Tarr said.
McCoy admits the way she studies is “very different from most people.”
“I have to write everything,” McCoy said. “A lot of people highlight stuff, but I have to write it down.”
McCoy also uses mnemonic devices to help her remember things, in addition to the songs she comes up with.
McCoysaid she plans to declare a double major in the spring in psychology, her current major, and communication.
“I’m just really curious about everything,” McCoy said. “I think about the most random things. I like to think about how people think.”
Though she is focused on school and soccer, McCoy said she has to take time to just relax and rest her mind.
“Having down time where my mind is not going 100 miles per hour is good for me,” McCoy said. “Vegging in front of the TV, going out to dinner with friends, just taking a break from both school and soccer.”
McCoy also finds relief in involvement in some religious groups on campus. She attends meetings of groups such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Crusades when her schedule allows. On Tuesdays, she also attends a program called Veritas run by the Crossing Church, which McCoy attends on Sundays.
It is Monday night. McCoy is singing again. This time it is at Monday Night Worship, a group of students who get together to sing worship songs to God. It is another way for her to stay active in her faith, another way to get the most out of her college experience.
“If you give all you have, you have nothing to be disappointed about,” McCoy said.