Mount St. Mary’s graduate attackman/midfielder Brendan Doyle recently spoke with PressBox about being born into a lacrosse family, his brother following him at the Mount and more. The Lutherville, Md., native posted 27 points (16 goals, 11 assists) in 2019 and 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) during the shortened 2020 season. Doyle graduated from Loyola Blakefield.
PressBox: How did you become interested in lacrosse?
Brendan Doyle: I grew up in a big family. My dad, [Kevin], is one of eight siblings, and every single one of them ended up playing college lacrosse. I am the oldest of 21 cousins. I think I grew up around a lot of college lacrosse, and I was real young. It was something that just caught my interest. I always loved sports growing up. I played basketball, football, lacrosse, even a little bit of golf. Lacrosse just stuck out to me as the sport that I really liked.
PB: How did growing up with lacrosse in your family help you develop as a player?
BD: My dad was a player, and he actually coached at Notre Dame for a couple years right out of college and then coached me growing up through my youth games and actually in club as well. So I think growing up with a coach and growing up around a lot of really good player definitely helped me lacrosse IQ-wise. I grew up with a sense of the game. It was second nature almost. I think that just helped me develop an IQ. I always had a stick in my hands, stick work was pretty good at a young age. It definitely helped being around the game so much at a young age.
PB: Who was the biggest influence on your game growing up? Was it your dad?
BD: I would definitely say it was my dad. My dad has coached me almost every year besides in high school and in college. He’s just an unbelievable mentor for me, whether it’s on the field or off the field, honestly. But on the field, I turn to him. [If] I had a bad game, I turn to him, and he always seems to have not always the answer but good input, teaching points and stuff like that.
PB: Your brother, Kevin, is going to play lacrosse at Mount St. Mary’s next year after you leave. What’s it going to be like to build a family legacy at the Mount?
BD: I never expected myself to really distance myself from Mount St. Mary’s. This place has been so special and dear to me, with what crazy times we’ve had this last year especially. It’s been a journey, [considering] when I got here what the team was like and how many wins we would get and the culture of the team versus how it is now. And now I get to see from a second-hand view how my brother’s development at this university will be and how the team will grow even more. You get to see how my class and [I] left our impact on the program and how it will grow from here on out.
PB: What are your favorite memories at Loyola Blakefield?
BD: We had such good games. I would probably say my junior year, my first varsity game I ever started we played Haverford, who had just come off their No. 1 season, going undefeated and winning their championship. We played them by I think three that year, and it was me and two of my best friends just had unreal games and almost silenced the critics a little bit. I think I remember in high school, you always had the hype of who are the best teams in high schools and the rankings and all that. Just going out and beating the No. 1 team in the first week, that’s always pretty exciting.
PB: Why did you choose to come to the Mount?
BD: In high school, I decided early I wanted to be a sports management major. That’s honestly one of those things when they ask, “What do you want to do in college?” That kind of stood out to me. I thought that was an interesting degree. [Head coach Tom Gravante] has such a way with people — his recruiting style, he’s such a personable guy. I fell in love with not only the academic side but Coach Gravante is a very influential guy. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t fall in love with the head coach as well and he wasn’t a huge [factor] in where I went to college.
PB: What’s your favorite memory so far at the Mount?
BD: Probably beating Bryant with 0.2 seconds on the clock. It was my sophomore year, the opening NEC game. Jack Mangan scored a buzzer-beater goal with 0.2 seconds left to beat Bryant, who won the [East division of the NEC] the year before.
PB: Why did you take your option to come back for a fifth year?
BD: I’d be lying to you if I told you that losing that Hopkins game in overtime [last March] didn’t have a bitter, everlasting effect on me. That is definitely not the way that I wanted to go out. I thought we had that game for three quarters. If we could’ve just put one more together, I’d [feel] a little better. But I just felt like something was stolen from me at the end of that season last year. There’s always so much hype on your last senior season. I don’t want to say I was narrow-minded in the fact that this was my last season, but I always knew that this is how I wanted to end it — four years with a degree, playing all four years — and that was taken just so suddenly and so quickly. I felt like I played Hopkins and I was home the next day. Unfinished business I think is where I would leave it. There’s just way too much unfinished business on the field.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about the Mount and Emmitsburg?
BD: I would probably say just the unreal views, the scenery all around. There are just mountains and hills and stuff everywhere. Besides that, I would probably say the Ott House on Main Street. It’s a local restaurant where we go a lot of times after games with parents and sometimes the coaches.
PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
BD: I would probably say Joe Bethke. He’s a kid that [I] came in with freshman year. He’s from Seattle, which is kind of what I’ll say brought us together. I’ve never been to the West Coast and immediately sophomore year we were put into a house together. I don’t want to say we were forced to be friends, but we became really, really, really good friends just by the nature of becoming roommates. This team is so tight. We really only have each other. I think that’s definitely what brought us the most together, just going through the ups and downs of a season, playing the tougher teams — just being able to rely on each other. I think that’s probably what brought us closer together.
PB: Who was a player you looked up early in your career at the Mount?
BD: Jack Mangan, I would say. … He was the hardest worker I’ve ever played with. Besides his skills on the field, he was a defensive middie, just hard-nosed guy that really just plays his heart out. He was the smartest player on the field at all times. Stick work-wise, he was the best. He would do anything for any single guy on the team. We have 60 guys, which might sound like a big roster, but he would do anything for any single one of those guys. I think he just set the tone for my class and the classes before us, just leading by example and [showing] what a teammate — a really good, selfless lacrosse player — is.
PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
BD: I always say to study the game. That’s something I did when I was a kid. You can never watch enough lacrosse. Just by habit, I love watching lacrosse, whether it’s my games, other games, youth games, Masters games. I always just like studying the game. That’s how you better understand it. You see things better when you watch other people do it is something that I believe in. I would just say to the youth, just keep watching lacrosse and [improving] your lacrosse IQ and understanding how offenses work, defenses work, calls, motions and all that type of stuff.
PB: What are your goals for after lacrosse?
BD: I am planning on having a future in sales. I have been going through interviews over the last two years with the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, a couple other sales consulting jobs in the Baltimore and Philadelphia area. Those are my plans — really just a minor sales job to kind of get my foot in the door somewhere and to eventually work my way up.
PB: What did you do last spring as far as lacrosse after the season was canceled?
BD: I wanted to make a point to have a stick in my hand at least once a day, whether it was throwing on the wall out back or going on a run outside but running with my stick in my hand or playing catch with one of my brothers. Goals weren’t really available and you couldn’t go to fields, so couldn’t really do that. And also doing at-home workouts — just doing something every day is beneficial in some way. We had so much time on our hands that there was really no excuse not to be doing something every day. Just keep staying active and keeping my stick in my hand, that’s really it.
Photo Credit: David Sinclair/Mount Athletics