Matt Cashore '94 | December 20, 2018
Editor's Note: Normally, Matt Cashore '94's contributions to this magazine are more visual than textual. But when he came to us with this tale from the 2018 football season, we thought we'd let him try his hand at storytelling with words instead of photos. Enjoy this rare look behind the lens.
I’ve said it for years.
I can’t remember when I first uttered or wrote the thought publicly, but dive deep enough into my Twitter and I’m sure I’ve mentioned it there more than once: Kevin McDougal '94 is my favorite Notre Dame football player ever.
Why? He’s a classmate, for one thing. I don’t think we ever met in our student days, though, so the rest of my esteem comes from his on-field performance as the unheralded and expectation-exceeding leader of the 1993 team. For three years, he had patiently waited his turn, backing up eventual first-round draft pick Rick Mirer — but when the time had seemingly come in McDougal’s senior year, coach Lou Holtz publicly passed him over, giving the starting quarterback job to the much-celebrated incoming freshman Ron Powlus before the season even began. Injury put Kevin McDougal in the starting slot anyway, and he led ND to a nearly perfect season, beating Florida State in the “Game of the Century” along the way.
In my opinion, Lou Holtz never seemed to give McDougal the credit he deserved. Had I been in McDougal’s situation, I must reluctantly confess I probably wouldn’t have had a “team player” attitude, but McDougal did — instead of seeking a transfer or complaining, he got the job done and set a bar that wasn’t exceeded for nearly two decades.
Now, all of that said, when I’m on the sidelines of a football field I am capital-W Working. I am not remotely in fan mode. I don’t get giddy from a win or troubled by a loss, and I certainly don’t engage with the star athletes or other celebrities with whom I sometimes share a sideline. Autographs? Selfies? Please! I’m a professional.
Well. . .with one exception.
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