Love of sports, for many, is passed from generation to generation. Head to any pee wee field in the country and you’re bound to find a parent coaching their child, trying to pass on their passion for the game to their son or daughter. Sophomore receiver Tre McBride knows all about this.
“My dad’s coached me all the way up until high school, and without him, I don’t really know how much of a football player I’d be right now,” McBride said.
So when he took the field in William and Mary’s season-opener at Maryland, McBride knew his father, a former running back at Northeastern, was watching, even though he was far from College Park.
At a computer almost 7,000 miles away sat Col. Douglas McBride, logged on to ESPN3 from Afghanistan, where he’ll be stationed with the United States Army until March.
It wasn’t the first time his father couldn’t make it to a game. Col. McBride spent 15 months in Iraq while Tre played his first year of high school football. Service to country has always been important to Tre’s family.
“His dad was in the military … and [my dad’s] been in [the Army] for 22 or 23 years,” Tre said. “So yeah, military’s a family thing — military and football.”
He could add one other thing to that list: academics. McBride graduated with a 3.9 GPA from Ola High School in McDonough, Ga., even earning himself an academic offer from Harvard. According to quarterback coach David Corley, who recruited McBride in high school, he gets that from his parents as well.
“He comes from a good home,” Corley said. “When you meet his mom and dad you realize why he had good grades and was able to balance academics and athletics. His parents are very supportive of him athletically, but they stay on top of him about the books. That’s something they don’t allow him to slip on.”
But don’t let that convince you that he isn’t a top-notch athlete as well. McBride is enjoying a breakout 2012. After logging 14 catches for 146 yards in 11 games as a true freshman last season, McBride has developed into the Tribe’s most reliable offensive weapon through four games, totaling 20 catches for 364 yards and two touchdowns already.
“He’s really doing a good job out there as a second-year player,” head coach Jimmye Laycock said. “He’s making a lot of plays for us.”
In high school, McBride played running back in a Wing-T offense, but when he came up to Williamsburg for a recruiting camp, coaches worked him out at wide receiver and weren’t disappointed. Not long after, McBride got one of his final scholarship offers — to come play for the College.
For a student-athlete like McBride, though, options were plentiful. Air Force, Navy, Duke, Furman and Harvard had already made offers, and while Corley knew the Tribe had a shot at him, he also knew it wouldn’t be easy.
“We recruited the mess out of him,” Corley said. “I called him and bugged all the time about coming up here and being a part of our program.”
With his family’s military background and offers from two military academies, Tre knew where his dad wanted to see him play the most.
“He liked the Air Force because he knows they’ll take care of you as far as benefits and stuff like that,” Tre said. “But I think he couldn’t be happier with what I chose.”
Once he got to Williamsburg, the transformation to wide out began in earnest. He had worked out as a receiver before, but reading coverage schemes was new. Still, the College’s coaches recognized his talent and threw him into game situations immediately as a true freshman.
“You look at his body type, and you can see he’s not a running back,” Corley said. “He’s a good size receiver, and he’s a kid that has really good body control.”
But adjusting to change was nothing new for Tre. His family moved with his father all across the country during his childhood. McBride has already lived in seven different states, so despite being born in Texas and attending high school in Georgia, you’d be hard-pressed to find any hint of a southern accent in his voice. He speaks softly yet confidently, and he’ll tell you he had no regrets about moving around as often as he did.
“I think we liked it; we like moving around,” he said. “It’s helped us grow up. It’s been a good thing.”
On Saturdays this season, though, his family has been wherever he’s taken the field. He says that at least one family member has been to each of his games. Of course, there’s been one notable absence each week — the man who taught him to play the game.
He says his father is always there in spirit, but even the seasoned player he is, it’s obvious that Tre, like any pee-wee, wants his dad to watch and wants to make him proud. You can hear the excitement in Tre’s voice when he talks about getting game film to his father.
“I have some DVD’s we’ll send overseas to him, and he’s able to text me. With technology nowadays, as long as he has internet, he can iMessage me,” McBride said. “It’s good having him to talk to. … I haven’t gone a day without him posting something on Facebook about how proud he is of me being here.”