October 17, 2008

A Model Student-Athlete

Whatever Brendan McGovern is involved in, he keeps two things in mind: Have a good attitude towards and make an impact in any way possible. Looking at what he has done at Binghamton University, he has certainly stayed true to his beliefs.

McGovern is a four-year forward on men's soccer program. Eligibility-wise, he is a redshirt junior. McGovern was in the Binghamton University Honors Program and graduated last year with one of the top 10 GPA of any student-athlete on campus. Currently, he is working towards his master's degree.

In both soccer and academics, however, McGovern has done much more than just being remotely involved. He is a member of the Dean's Advisory Board in the School of Management (SOM) and is the President of SOM Scholars Program. In addition, McCovern was both the creator and coordinator of Scholars Community Service Day, an event that drew coverage from the local media.

On a team as deep and talented as the men's soccer program, McGovern has not always gotten into the games. Still, his influence on the team is evident. He is the first player up off the bench cheering and encouraging his players. After tough matches, he is the person who perks the team up and tells them to go over and thank the fans. He has earned the respect of everyone on his team to the point that when he speaks, people listen.

"I have a responsibility to the team," he said. "There are not enough spaces on the field for 28 guys to contribute at one time. My dad tells me to make the most of every opportunity and make a positive impact. Whether it is on the field or off, I try and live up to that."

"He has been a pleasure to have in our program," head coach Paul Marco said. "He really inspires our guys. He might play every minute of every match. There might some matches that he does not get into but his focus and his intensity is the same."

Like many student athletes at Binghamton, the combination of outstanding academics and an up-and-coming athletic department attracted McGovern when he was a high school senior.

"It was an opportunity to play at a high level and learn at a high level," he said. "It wasn't just the soccer that brought me here, it was the academics because that is my priority and that's what is going to carry me further in life."

Binghamton gave McGovern a chance to study at his own pace. It also gave him the opportunities to be more involved in the School of Management.

"The university really gave me the chance to get as involved in my academics as I wanted to," he said. "I have enjoyed the chance to get involved in the School of Management and get to know a lot of the professors and deans. You get to be known more as a person than just as a student."

On campus, McGovern has become well respected beyond the soccer team. It is both his extensive involvement within the university and his demeanor that has made him extremely well thought of by many people.

"He is an outstanding young man, a top notch student, a solid athlete, and one of the finest team leaders to go through our department during my tenure," Senior Associate Athletic Director Jim Norris said. "Brendan clearly understands the concept of putting the team above oneself and has totally committed himself to doing so. More importantly, Brendan has raised the bar in many positive ways for every member of our men’s soccer program through his commitment, work ethic, unselfishness, and incredibly positive attitude."

On some teams, a non-starter may not have the respect of the more accomplished teammates. That is not true on the Binghamton men's soccer team, especially when it comes to McGovern.

"Brendan is an unbelievable guy," senior captain Barry Neville said. "He is someone you can always go to for help. He is always someone you can count on when things aren't going well. He carries great respect on our team with everything he does with his classes."

"Within our team, we make it a lot more about life," Marco said. " Our team is more than just about soccer and Brendan certainly has the respect of everybody on this team."

While McGovern has made an indelible impact on those around him, the same can be said about what being a part of the men's soccer program has meant to him.

"I feel very lucky being on this team because I've gotten to play with great players from all around the world," he said. "You learn a lot not just about the different styles of play but the different personalities. It's given me a chance to challenge myself and find a way to contribute to the team. It's been an honor for me."

McGovern's career at Binghamton is not over but when it is, Marco thinks the sky is the limit for what he can accomplish.

"Brendan is a guy that nothing will surprise me what he does," he said. "He could end up running for president one day. He's a CEO of a company. That's the type of guy that is. He is very well organized and you can trust him. His integrity is unbelievable. He is through the chart on any character quality."

Posted October 17, 2008. 10 a.m.
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