Colleges often tout their football team’s three-year lettermen. A player has done well enough on the field to show the playing time needed to earn a letter in his first three years on the team.
Finding a player with three undergraduate degrees in just three years is a sports information director’s dream come true.
Dewey McDonald started his academic/football days at Fairmont State in August of 2009. He had been a three-sport athlete at Jefferson High, playing a pivotal role on a football team that had an undefeated regular season as well as doing very well in basketball and track and field. As a senior, he was a Class AAA state champion in both the high jump and as a member of the winning 4×100 relay team.
McDonald became Fairmont’s starting free safety as a freshman. His season-ending credentials were such that he was named to the All-WVIAC first-team defense.
And he was excelling in the classroom as well.
McDonald attended summer school where he took six hours.
As a sophomore, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound safety was again one of the conference’s most productive players. He was recognized again as a first-team All-WVIAC defensive player.
In the classroom, where he was concentrating on courses in business and marketing, McDonald made all “A’s”, save one “B”.
His second summer at Fairmont saw him take a 12-hour course load.
The stellar work in the many classrooms had made McDonald an Academic All-America as recognized by the NCAA.
Back for the 2011 football season, McDonald and fellow Jefferson High classmate Ryland Newman (also a starter in the Fighting Falcon secondary) were juniors.
WVIAC teams had already seen too much of McDonald to be lulled into thinking he was a player they could pick on for passing success.
Opponents went away from the two-time all-conference player. With statistics that saw one interception in 11 games, McDonald was a second-team all-conference selection last season. Even with one interception, he still had 73 tackles, five pass breakups, and four tackles for lost yardage.
During this past summer, there was an 18-hour course load . . . and when the school term was ended, McDonald had three undergraduate degrees. In business management. In marketing. In sports management.
There was the fourth year of football (and possibily a professional career) if the much-decorated scholar wanted it. He would take his 3.94 cumulative grade point average to course work that would lead to a graduate degree in business administration.
Fairmont had rallied to a 7-4 overall record in 2011. Enthusiasm had arisen in place of the ordinary seasons that had come before.
Fairmont was scheduled to play Clarion (Pa.) in its 2012 football opener.
But McDonald wouldn’t get to play.
In a scrimmage just days before the Sept. 1 game with Clarion, McDonald suffered a broken arm. He was on the sidelines when the Golden Eagles trimmed Fairmont, 7-0, in the opener.
It is likely McDonald will miss the entire 2012 season, accepting a medical redshirt waiver that will allow him to play his fourth year of eligibility in 2013.
Three undergraduate degrees in three years. A 3.94 grade point average. And now work toward a graduate degree with an arm in a cast.
The NCAA loves to tout its academic successes.
And Dewey McDonald is a true academic success.
All “A’s”, save one “B”.
And a two-time first-team All-WVIAC selection as a safety as well.