Senior Luke McDonald has brain and braun on the field

Senior offensive lineman Luke McDonald sets up on the line for a play. (credit: Courtesy of CMU Athletics) Senior offensive lineman Luke McDonald sets up on the line for a play. (credit: Courtesy of CMU Athletics)

For Tartan athletes, it’s just as important to be a good athlete on the field as it is off. This especially holds true for senior neuroscience major and offensive lineman, Luke McDonald. Born and raised in Lancaster County, he’s been passionate about football from a young age. “I started playing in the third grade. I had been playing football for as long as I can remember,” McDonald said in an interview with The Tartan. Growing up around football encouraged McDonald to continue the legacy in his family. “My dad played in high school and he coached with my uncle, who played at Bucknell in college. My grandfather played college football at Michigan State.”

It was only natural for McDonald to pick up where the other players in his family left off, on the football field.
McDonald is just as passionate about what happens on the field as he is about what happens off the field. “I am really passionate about coaching football,” McDonald said as he spoke about his experience coaching with his father. “My dad is the head coach at Elizabethtown High School and I have coached with him over the past two summers.” The most rewarding part of this process for McDonald is being able to share his knowledge of football with those who are in the same shoes he was in just a few years ago. “Imparting my knowledge to high school kids and seeing them take what I have taught them and use it to succeed” is McDonald’s favorite part about coaching. This perspective gives McDonald a chance to reflect on his experience on the field while also helping younger players succeed. Having this experience allows McDonald to understand football from more than just the viewpoint of the player.

For McDonald, being a good athlete extends beyond the field. McDonald knows how important being part of a team is and how essential it is to act for the good of the team rather than just for his own interests. “Being a good athlete, on the field, means being responsible for your job, and doing your job to the best of your ability for the good of the team.” Being part of a team is about being a part of something bigger than yourself, and McDonald carries these same sentiments into his personal and academic life. “Off the field, being an athlete means representing your team and school in the best way, and excelling at everything you can.” McDonald understands the importance of portraying himself in a way that will reflect positively on the team. For McDonald, football is more than just a sport, it’s a way to recover from the stress of classes. Carnegie Mellon can be a stressful environment, and for McDonald, “football is a release, a way to escape schoolwork and stress that happens here at CMU.” It’s also a way for McDonald to “unite with my friends and teammates for a common goal, to win.” Football has really taught McDonald the importance of what it means to be on a team. Despite taking a lot of time out of his schedule with daily practice and weekend games that can sometimes take the team out of state, McDonald feels that it is all worth it to do what he loves. “There is nothing better than going out on a Saturday and winning with your teammates.”