A Dorchester student-athlete is being recognized for his leadership on and off the gridiron this season. Mike McDonough, a senior at Braintree’s Thayer Academy, recently earned First Team All League honors and was awarded the Seymour Stadfeld Award for his contributions to the Tigers’ football program.
McDonough, 18, was co-captain of the team and played at the middle linebacker and fullback positions.
“Mike was our vocal and spiritual leader,” said head coach Jeff Toussaint. “He always got the team pumped up before games with encouragement--and a little bit of dancing!”
Ken Burke, the Tigers’ defensive coordinator, describes McDonough as a focused competitor and a student of the game.
“Michael quarterbacked our defense from the middle linebacker position from start to finish this season,” said Burke. “We asked him to be the point man on understanding film and understanding all of our defensive concepts; Michael ate everything up with enthusiasm and confidence. He was a true leader on the field, communicating everything play to play to the team and playing at a high level.”
According to faculty members, McDonough’s leadership qualities extend beyond the playing field at Thayer Academy, where he has served on the student government since his freshman year.
“Mike is a dedicated student, a determined and loyal teammate, and a thoughtful and caring school leader,” said Terri Lukens, McDonough’s faculty advisor. “He is an earnest and kind person, who has never backed down from challenge and difficulty.”
“Mike is fiercely loyal to his family, friends, teammates and school,” added Lukens. “In fact, he won the prestigious Community Spirit Award at Thayer in the spring of his sophomore year because he is so well respected by everyone here at school.”
Mike’s father Brendan said his son, the oldest of four, has been a leader since he was a young kid.
“Academically, athletically, and most importantly morally, he has been an example to everyone in our family on a daily basis.”
According to his father, Mike is a quiet leader with a “calm and gently demeanor” off the field. But that changes the moment he steps on the gridiron and his “fiery competitive nature comes out.”
This spirit is what those around Michael say earned him the respect of his peers and teachers, as well as the Stadfeld Award, an honor given annually to a player who “warms both hands before the fire of life.” Brendan McDonough said his son embodies this mantra each day.
“He is not the type of kid to sit idle and wait for things to happen. Michael takes each day like it is his last day and lives it to the fullest. Importantly, he does it in a warm and kind way.”