Growing up in Cache Valley, Utah State senior safety McKade Brady had multiple opportunities to interact with collegiate student-athletes. As he talked to and met with the young men who became his heroes, he saw what he wanted to become.
Brady saw men who excelled on the gridiron and on the basketball court. He saw people who put the student aspect of student-athlete first. With people like former Aggie football great Emmett White and former Aggie basketball standout Troy Rolle in his life, he learned of good values and the importance of serving his community.
“I remember Troy Rolle coming to my house and telling me how important it was to get a good education. He did a fireside at my house where he just talked about how important it is to have good values, treat women with respect and do good in school — the important things in life,” Brady said. “Hearing that from one of your heroes is a big deal.”
As he grew up and became the talented athlete that he is, Brady has remembered the things he learned from his Aggie idols.
Student-Athlete Affairs, through the Utah State athletic department, is constantly working to provide opportunities for student-athletes to be involved in the community. Along with his peers, Brady has made many trips to local elementary schools to work and interact with students.
“Growing up in Cache Valley, I know how much little kids look up to the athletes. A lot of athletes don’t realize how much little kids look up to them,” Brady said. “Growing up here I was able to look at some of those guys and know first-hand how they can influence you. It’s really important to set that example for the kids in our community.”
Brady has not always been in Logan. After high school, he began his collegiate athletic career on the track team at Brigham Young University. Though he saw success there, he realized how much he missed the community he had grown up in and decided to return home to live out his dream as a football player.
Back at home, playing the game he loves, Brady has been able to see the success he sought after both on and off the field.
“McKade is always one of the first in line to reach out to the community any time the opportunity presents itself. I think it’s a unique position for him being from Cache Valley and growing up and going to high school here,” head coach Gary Andersen said. “The opportunity to give back is important to him. It’s fun for him, but for the youth, however they get themselves involved, are able to see a little bit of themselves in McKade simply because he’s a hometown boy.”
For Brady, community involvement has played a huge role in his time as an Aggie. As the football program has grown, the support throughout the valley has grown as well. Aside from a winning team, student-athletes have been able to reach out and get more involved in the community, creating a strong bond between the two.
“It just helps create the sense of community,” Brady said. “These kids are the next generation and we want them to grow up with these values and the drive to get an education. It affects the community in a big way. There are a ton of role models in this athletic program and I think it does a lot of good.”
The service and outreach is beneficial to the athlete and the community on the receiving end.
“It benefits our players. It helps them in life, gives them valuable life experiences. They can grow from those experiences and that’s the importance for our young men,” Andersen said. “It’s important for people to understand that we care. There is more to this than football. We’re all in this thing together.”
Involvement in the community is a huge aspect of the mission of Utah State football.
“It’s something we talk about all the time. As a community and as a football program we want to be involved. If we just talk about it and don’t do it, then it’s just lip service,” Andersen said. “We’re excited about it. It helps our young men grow and hopefully it helps the community grow.”
It isn’t easy to be a football player, while going to school and maintaining a life outside of that. As a senior, Brady has found that balance and has been involved in many aspects of the university.
“McKade’s success at our institution, both on and off the field, stems from his remarkable ability to juggle the rigors of academics and athletics, while still maintaining balance as an individual,” said Jason Thomas, assistant director of Student-Athlete Services. “McKade is a good-hearted, selfless individual who seeks the better good of others above his own and whose character should be admired amongst his peers.”
With a new wife, a rigorous school schedule, all mixed in with the amount of time required of a Division I student-athlete, Brady has still found the time to make a difference in his hometown.
“A lot of times student-athletes just get consumed because we spend so much time in our sport that they think that’s all there is to life. But there are bigger things out there than just football. My parents did a good job of always teaching me that there are other things than just sports and you need keep that in mind,” Brady said. “You need to be a good person in all aspects of your life, not just worrying about being a good football player.”
Megan Allen writes for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.