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Dan McCarthy follows in the footsteps of his older brother

Sarah Mervosh | Thursday, November 17, 2011

Many athletes say their teammates become like brothers, but for senior safety Dan McCarthy, that bond was a bit more literal.

For half his time at Notre Dame, McCarthy played with older brother Kyle, who was also a safety and currently plays for the Denver Broncos.

“He taught me more than I could thank him for,” Dan McCarthy said. “He taught me things off the field, how to act, how to carry yourself and how to play the game the right way. He played with a lot of passion and heart. I try to model myself after that.”

Dan said his brother and family influenced his decision to come to Notre Dame.

“Growing up being from an Irish Catholic family, I was always a big Notre Dame fan, my whole family was,” he said.” [And] I thought it would be neat to follow my brother here.”

When Dan joined the team in 2008, it was the first time the brothers had the opportunity to play on the same team and Kyle McCarthy said he was excited to have his brother on board.

“I tried to help him out as much as possible when he got in but Danny didn’t really need much help,” Kyle McCarthy said. “He had the work ethic and has all the talent in the world. He was able to make a name for himself pretty quickly.”

Dan has seen playing time both as a safety and on special teams throughout his career and first saw action as a sophomore at the season-opening Nevada game.

“I got a chance to run in there at safety,” he said. “That was definitely one of the best memories, just finally, after watching for so long, getting the chance to get out there was truly amazing.”

But both brothers said their favorite memory was running out of the tunnel for the first time together.

“I’ll never forget, my brother pulled me up to the front and I ran behind him,” Dan said. “That was the first time I ran out but I was so excited I didn’t really remember it until I got to the end zone.”

Kyle agreed the memory was unforgettable.

“It’s definitely a feeling neither of us will ever forget,” he said.

Dan has also contributed on kickoffs and kick returns, and occasionally sees time on punts and punt returns.

“Whatever’s the best way to help the team out is what I’m for,” he said. “Whatever I can contribute is what I’m looking to do.”

Kyle said it has been rewarding to watch his brother succeed.

“I’m really proud of how far he’s come and the type of person he’s become,” he said.

But the bond between the McCarthy brothers was not the only brotherhood Dan found when he joined the football team. He said the football program has given him lifelong friends.

“You hang out with the guys over half the day and you really get to know each other and you adapt to each other … It’s just a great brotherhood,” he said. “The memories I’ve had are just amazing. The friends I’ve made here and the people I’ve met here, I’ll carry on lifelong friendships.”

Being on the football team has also taught Dan how to balance a busy schedule full of daily practices, classes, homework and a social life.

“It’s tough, definitely at a challenging school like Notre Dame. I think football actually gets you on a nice program and you get used to a daily schedule,” he said.

But there’s one trick to the balancing act that stands out to the younger McCarthy — time management.

“That’s what my dad always preached and it really came into play when I got to college,” he said.

Because he did not play his freshman year, McCarthy has one year of eligibility remaining and plans to apply for a fifth year. After graduation, however, the finance major plans to put his time management skills to use in the business world.

“I definitely want to get into the business world and I’ll explore my opportunities there when it comes,” he said.

In the mean time, Dan McCarthy will enjoy the remainder of the football season and the friendships he has made along the way.

“Just the whole football experience has been great and I’ve cherished every moment of it,” he said. “I’ll never forget it.”