Duquesne Dukes’ running back Larry McCoy has had quite the journey during his five years on campus at Duquesne.
McCoy came from a small Class A school in Wytheville, VA. only to be redshirted as a freshman. But he put in the hard work not only that season, but through four more years on and off the field.
That hard work paid off in a big way Saturday when McCoy passed Donte Small to become the all-time rusher in Duquesne history.
“It’s an honor,” said McCoy after Duquesne’s 28-27 loss to Monmouth. “Donte Small is a legend around here and to even be mentioned in the same sentence as him is quite the honor. But like you said, it’s been quite the journey. I’m just a kid from a small town in Wytheville playing Class A ball and to get to this point I think speaks volumes about the work I had to put in on the field but more importantly off the field.”
Getting to talk to McCoy all season has been an honor of its own. Of all the pro, collegiate and high school athletes I have had the opportunity of talking to throughout the years, I have never encountered a more pleasant athlete with such a good head on his shoulders, something McCoy’s coach speaks volumes about.
“Larry is an outstanding young man,” said Duquesne head coach Jerry Schmitt. “He’s a phenomenal football player, but he’s a better person. It couldn’t happen to a better person. He’s a leader on and off the field and a great student. He’s just a phenomenal person to be around and I’m going to miss him.”
Like I mentioned before it wasn’t always so easy for McCoy. He was redshirted as a freshman and it took some work for him to become the Dukes starting running back, which he didn’t do until midway through his first season. Some players could have become frustrated with being redshirted and having to wait his time but not McCoy. Instead he used that time to put in the work and become a better football player.
“Yeah of course you want to play when you first come to campus, but I used that time to my benefit,” added McCoy. “I spent a lot of time in the film room and pretty much stayed attached to my offensive coaches at the hip. It was a learning process and it helped make me the player that I am today.”
In the time since, McCoy has carried the rock 880 times for 4,308 yards and 35 touchdowns.
In the process he set the Duquesne all-time record for carries, rushing yards and 100-yard games (24). In addition, his 880 carries are more than any player in NCAA Division I (FCS and FBS levels). He’s also among the top Division I ball carriers in almost every statistical category.
“Wow,” said McCoy. “It really seems like just the other day I arrived on campus as a young kid from Wytheville and now to get to this point is an honor. But I haven’t done it alone. I have had some great people surrounding me since I got here. They get some of the credit as well.”
However while McCoy has assaulted the Duquesne record book, he’s not done yet.
He enters Saturday’s game against Robert Morris needing 153 yards to pass Wagner’s Rick Sarille (4,460 yards from 1996-99) and move into the second spot on the NEC’s all-time rushing list. He also needs seven rushing touchdowns in the Dukes final three games to pass Pedro Bowman (41 from 1981-84) and become the school’s all-time leader.
But knowing McCoy, that’s the last thing on his mind as he always puts team success ahead of individual goals.
“We just want to come out and finish the season strong,” said McCoy. “We’re want to come out and play Duquesne football the final three games and see where it leaves us. The only thing that’s important the rest of the season is winning football games.”
To do so McCoy will have to do what he’s done his entire career and that’s perform at a high level.
Whether or not Duquesne finds a way to sneak into the postseason, McCoy will be missed after this season as he’s left a positive impression on his coaches, teammates, fans and sports writers along the way.
“He’s amazing,” said Duquesne quarterback Sean Patterson. “It’s a great feat for this university for Larry to break the record, but it really couldn’t happen to a better person. I’m happy to be able to call him a friend. I’m very proud of him”
Photo Credit: Duquesne