Friday Night Lights: A Dream Come True

“Life is about keeping promises and leaving a legacy,” said Darrius Heyward-Bey ’05 during a recent visit to McDonogh. And he is a man of his word. Currently a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Heyward-Bey is keeping a promise that he made to Athletic Director Mickey Deegan his senior year, a promise that will bring the McDonogh community together and raise school spirit to another level.

“We were on the sidelines, and Darrius asked me why we didn’t have lights in the stadium,” recalled Deegan. “When I told him lights were expensive and it would take a very generous gift to make that happen, he put his arm around my shoulders and said, ‘Ms. Deegan, when I go pro I’m going to buy you some lights…because night games are what high school football is all about.’”

Thanks to a recent gift from Heyward-Bey, McDonogh’s football players and the entire school community will experience the thrill of “Friday Night Lights” in John McDonogh Stadium starting in the fall of 2014.

“On every level, night games are exciting,” shared Heyward-Bey. “Young players dream of playing under the lights, but the reality is that 95% of athletes don’t play after high school. I’m glad McDonogh football players will now have that opportunity.”

But that is not the only reason for Heyward-Bey’s generous gift. He shared, “Giving back is showing that you appreciate where you come from, and McDonogh is where I come from. I learned so much from my teachers and coaches. I would not be the person I am today if McDonogh was not along my path in life.”

This story was featured in The Baltimore Sun and on Ellen's Good News by Ellen DeGeneres, and

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8600 McDonogh Road | Owings Mills | Maryland | 21117