Tommy McNamara grew up thinking of one school and pretty much one school only.
McNamara’s father and grandfather attended Cornell, so the 2016 midfielder had early visions of joining the Big Red and he definitely didn’t know all that much about Notre Dame.
Funny how things change.
“Coach (John) Nostrant has a good connection with (Notre Dame assistant coach Gerry) Byrne and (Nostrant) told me they were going to come to a few games,” McNamara said. “It’s a great school. There are Haverford kids there (All-Delco Liam O’Connor and 2011 Daily Times Player of the Year Conor Kelly) and (2015 Irish verbal) Drew Schantz (of Malvern Prep) is a pretty good friend of mine, so I figured it would be a good fit.”
So McNamara made the trip out to South Bend to watch the Irish’s football team knock off Temple and, “fell in love with the place,” so much so that he eventually committed to joining Notre Dame’s class of 2020.
“I played some of my best lacrosse there and that was the first time I spoke to coach Byrne,” McNamara said. “He saw me, then I spoke to him later that night, but I wanted to see my options and didn’t want to rush anything. But they really liked my playing style as a D-mid and a two-way mid. With the college rules, that’s what it comes down to. There’s not much of an offensive or defensive middie now.”
McNamara’s decision came down to Notre Dame and Cornell and he also passed down overtures from Penn, Princeton and Virginia, where his brother, Will, signed in 2011.
“You can’t go wrong with the education at any of those schools,” McNamara said. “But it really came down to Notre Dame and Cornell. When I had been looking at Cornell, I really liked coach (Ben) DeLuca and what they had going there, but I just really liked Notre Dame. It has one of the best business schools in the country, too.”
Like his brother, McNamara’s versatility is his biggest asset. As a freshman last year, he started at defensive midfielder and was a key to the Fords’ turnaround from being 0-3 to Inter-Ac Invitational champions. That’s after not even trying out as a D-mid.
“I tried out at LSM,” said McNamara, who chipped in two goals and three assists. “I thought that’s what I was going to play, but Connor Black ended up playing really well. Coach (Travis) Loving wanted me on defense and coach Nostrant wanted me at middie, but D-mid ended up being so much fun. It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.”
Expectations will be sky high on Lancaster Avenue this year and neither McNamara or the Fords are shying away from them.
“We have the capability to be one of the best teams in the country,” McNamara said.
That might be understating it.
McNamara is the eighth public 2016 Delco verbal and the sixth (no, seriously) from The Haverford School. The full list of Delco commitments can be found here.
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