Monday, August 25, 2008

UAlbany Football's Dave McCarty: Passion on the Gridiron

UAlbany junior David McCarty remains inconspicuous sitting at the back of the classroom wearing a plain hooded sweatshirt and jeans. All of this changes once the 20-year-old tailback steps onto the football field. While donning his No. 3 jersey, McCarty can't help but stand out.

Last season, McCarty ranked 10th among the nation's rushing leaders with more than 125 yards per game. He posted the third-highest single season rushing total in school history with 1,503 yards and 13 touchdowns. Not to mention, he was named to the Sports Network Division I FCS All-America Team and first-team Sports Network Mid-Major All-America Squad.

"He has a great work ethic, outstanding strength. He's physically tough and he takes great pride in what he does," said UAlbany football head coach Bob Ford. "He's just a delightful young man."

It was UAlbany's Department of History, in part, that attracted McCarty to the University. McCarty's love of history, particularly American History, may not be something that is evident to his teammates or others -- that is, unless they visit his off-campus residence.

"There are only two channels that are always on at my house -- the Military Channel and the History Channel," said McCarty, who is majoring in history and minoring in education.

"We've gone from playing in Division III ... and now we're playing in bowl games, it's phenomenal."

Junior tailback David McCartyMcCarty, who carried a 3.6 GPA last semester, plans to join the Marine Corps after graduation.
Despite a mounting list of football accolades and accomplishments, all of the attention is something McCarty never imagined for himself, growing up in Gansevoort, N.Y. That's where his passion for football became rooted in neighborhood pickup games with friends.

"I'd come home with scrapes and bruises. It was awesome," said McCarty, who eventually become a high school standout at LaSalle Institute, where he holds records for single-game and single-season rushing and was named three-time wrestling All-American.

McCarty isn't sure what drives him -- perhaps it's a story N.Y. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin told the team before last season. Coughlin had received a letter from the Army's Lieutenant General, who talked about how much his men loved the Giants and what they do.

"He was saying how you can never get down on yourself when you're on the field, whether you're tired or hurt," recalled McCarty. "His men are on the battlefield in 125 degree heat with 100 pounds of gear, fighting for their country and their lives. When I replay that, I never get down on myself. I just keep going."

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