Friday, August 8, 2008

UAlbany Wide Receiver Bocanegra A Leader On And Off The Field

Bocanegra nominated for his community work

University of Albany wide receiver Daniel Bocanegra knows what it means to be a leader on and off the field.

His efforts to help the local community have led to his being nominated for the 2008 American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team, which recognizes student-athletes for off-the-field contributions.

"I like to help out and promote the team and keep our name intact," he said. "If I was doing it for the recognition, I'd be doing it for the wrong reasons."

Bocanegra, 22, a senior, was raised by his uncle in Daly City, Calif. He had mentors and other guides throughout childhood and at Junipero Serra High School, which has produced professional athletes Tom Brady and Barry Bonds.

At UAlbany, he became a Big Brother because a friend told him about kids in Albany who could use guidance. He said it's his way of giving back for all he has received.

In addition to being a Big Brother, he has helped raise more than $3,700 for Habitat For Humanity by organizing an annual event through the Student Athlete Advisory Association.

"He is the epitome of the scholar-athlete," UAlbany coach Bob Ford said. "He gives his time freely, and it's not about building a resume with him. He genuinely wants to help people."

In a time when many student-athletes gain headlines for the wrong reasons, Ford said it was refreshing to see one of his players make news for something good.

If being a Big Brother and organizing the Habitat for Humanity effort weren't enough, Bocanegra also oversaw a Christmas fund that donated money to underprivileged Albany-area children. He also is a member of the Purple and Gold Student Ambassadors, where he serves as a link between alumni and current students for school-related events.

Asked what teamwork means to him, Bocanegra, a former starting quarterback at UAlbany, said, "Teamwork means selflessness. Putting others before yourself, taking a step back and always making everything equal. You have to do it for the team before you can do it for yourself."


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