This winter, former and current Carroll School of Management students are spreading their wings, extending their leadership beyond the Heights. While known for their resounding success in Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum, these four Eagles have taken their athletic skills on the road, appearing in the NFL playoffs and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
When the NFL playoffs kicked off on January 15th, Boston College fans may have spotted some familiar names among the rosters, including Carroll School alums Zach Allen ‘18 and Tommy Sweeney ‘18. Although neither of these players are bound for the Super Bowl this year, their accomplishments are impressive regardless.
Before donning an Arizona Cardinals jersey, Allen sported #2 for Boston College. He entered the Boston College football program as the recipient of the Cecilia B. and Richard J. Canning Athletic Scholarship as well as the Athletic Director’s Award for Academic Achievement during his freshman year. He eventually declared a finance concentration.
Allen became an essential player by his junior year: he garnered the George “Bulger” Lowe Award, dubbed the “New England Heisman Trophy.” Bestowed by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston, the award goes to the region's best offensive and defensive players in the NCAA Bowl and Championship divisions. The defensive end’s accolades in his division and acclaimed work ethic helped him secure an early third-round pick, 65th overall, in the 2019 NFL Draft.
“Being a New England guy, Boston College is the pinnacle of New England sports. Being able to play for the hometown team was a great honor,” Allen shared in a SB Nation interview. Now three years deep into his NFL career, he has been a consistent starter for the Cardinals, despite time off with a neck injury in his first season. He headed into this year’s playoffs with the Cardinals ranked second in the NFC West Conference, but the Cardinals fell short, suffering an early loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Meanwhile, Allen’s former Boston College teammate, Sweeney, made an impressive comeback this season after Covid-19 took a toll on his health. After testing positive in the fall of 2020, the current Buffalo Bills tight end was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart known to stem from coronavirus, and was out for the remainder of the NFL 2020 season. Play beyond that was uncertain.
This season, the Bills’ starting tight end, Dawson Knox, suffered a hand injury, creating an opportunity for Sweeney to re-enter the playing field. Buffalo Bills tight end coach Rob Boras had complete trust that Sweeney could take on the job. “He might not always be the flashiest or one that’s going to jump off the tape, but at the end of the day he knows what to do and he puts himself in the best position for his job,” Boras shared with First Sportz.
Before being picked up in the 2019 NFL draft, Sweeney wore #89 for Boston College, the same number he now wears for the Buffalo Bills. His final season was one for the books—Sweeney earned spots on the All-ACC First Team as well as the New England Football Writers All-New England Team. Having studied marketing at the Carroll School, Sweeney also began a graduate degree in sports administration at the Woods College of Advancing Studies.
The tight end was happy to be back out on the field after his hiatus. "I'm ready," Sweeney said in an interview with FanNation. "I've been in this offense for three years, up and down…but I'm excited.” The Bills put up a fight in the playoffs, just missing out on a place in the AFC Championship in a game with the Kansas City Chiefs that went into overtime.
On the Ice, in Beijing
Across the world and on the ice, Boston College men’s hockey captain Marc McLaughlin ‘22 joins the USA Men’s Hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, while his alternate captain Jack McBain ‘22 will play for the Canadian team.
As a high school senior, McLaughlin received the Schiller Family Scholarship for Men's Ice Hockey and committed to Boston College. He was a standout player from the start: In his first season, the center claimed his spot as a play-maker and was awarded the team's Bernie Burke Outstanding Freshman Award. McLaughlin maintained his crucial presence on and off the ice through the following season, prompting coaches to make him team captain his junior year.
“People gravitate toward him—he’s a natural leader,” Boston College hockey head coach Jerry York said in an interview with The Heights. “He works hard and sets a great example. … There’s an intrinsic quality about him where I want this guy as a leader.”
Last season, he was selected as a Hockey East Third Team All-Star and won the Hockey East Best Defensive Forward Award. This year, with an exciting first half of the season behind him (he was named Hockey East Player of the Month for January), the senior with finance as well as management and leadership concentrations has much to look forward to in Beijing and beyond.
Ontario native Jack McBain ‘22 also has his eyes on Olympic gold. Before his time at Boston College, McBain played for the Toronto Jr. Canadians in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) during the 2017-18 season. With this junior league team, the center picked up the 2018 OJHL Top Prospect Award and was a two-time OJHL First Team All-Prospect, both accolades that made him stand out to NHL recruiters.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Andrew McBain, who played in the NHL from 1983 to 1994, he was drafted third round, 63rd overall, by the Minnesota Wild in the 2018 NHL Draft. Instead of continuing in the OJHL, McBain took an unconventional route by committing to play for Boston College, earning the Paul Fulchino Starting Forward Scholarship and focusing on a management concentration within the Carroll School.
“I thought ultimately playing in a league against bigger, older, and stronger guys would be beneficial in the long run and so I decided to go the college route and never looked back. I’ve enjoyed it—no regrets here,” McBain said in a SB Nation interview.
The decision has paid off for #11, who was appointed alternate captain his junior year and recently received the Hockey East Weekly Honor. McBain and McLaughlin lead the Eagles in points for this season so far. Set to graduate from the Carroll School this spring, both seniors have already left their marks on Boston College as athletes and leaders.