In a somber pregame ceremony on Friday, November 14, hundreds of football fans and friends gathered in John McDonogh Stadium to honor and remember alumnus Jordan McNair '17 as his No. 70 jersey was officially retired. Jordan passed away in June after suffering from heatstroke during a football practice at the University of Maryland.
With the varsity team lining the field behind her, Co-Athletic Director Mickey Deegan described Jordan using the eulogy shared at his funeral by Coach Hakeem Sule '05. “A great son, a loyal friend, a dependable teammate, a solid student, a hard-working kid, a Division 1 player, but most importantly--an excellent human being. This is simply how most people will remember Jordan McNair. I will remember him for the positive influence he had on others.”
As team captains D’Von Ellies '19 and Jabriel Johnson '19 presented Jordan’s orange jersey to his parents, Martin McNair and Tonya Wilson, Deegan said, “Jordan, you will always be in our hearts and our memories.” His gray jersey will hang in the Rollins-Luetkemeyer Athletic Center.
Filled with emotion, Marty McNair explained that the ceremony was the first time they had been on McDonogh’s field since 2016. “The last time we were here on the field was senior day, Jordan’s senior year, and we were full of expectations with a life full of potential,” he said.
“Tonya and I are proud to be a part of the McDonogh family. And this was an excellent, excellent launch pad for success in Jordan’s life.” He continued, "It wasn't just us as a family. It was a whole village that raised Jordan. Jordan was everyone's son. Everyone's brother. Everyone's teammate. If you knew Jordan, if you came across him, his smile alone was everything."
The ceremony ended with the singing of the National Anthem and the game against Malvern Prep began. Throughout the evening, fans made their way to the concession stand for samples of banana pudding, a favorite of Jordan and his McDonogh teammates. Team mothers prepared the 300 samples of the comfort food using Jordan's mother's recipe.