Mahony chooses Yale from Ivy league schools

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Greg Mahony, named an All-American, earned Mercer Island High School’s athlete of the year award for lacrosse. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Greg Mahony, named an All-American, earned Mercer Island High School’s athlete of the year award for lacrosse.
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Islander will attend Santa Clara for a year

By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter

Every lacrosse fan and player in Washington state knew the name Greg Mahony last season. Guiding Mercer Island to the state title game, being named an All-American and earning the high school’s athlete of the year award were just some of the accomplishments the senior garnered.

But it seemed as if none of the college lacrosse coaches outside of Washington knew Greg Mahony’s name. Then Santa Clara University in California offered Mahony a scholarship, but that was for his 3.94 GPA. Then Colgate University offered him a spot on its lacrosse team. Oh, how things have changed.

Mahony was also selected for four different all-star games, receiving a chance to display his skills. East coast coaches were watching.

The all-star games, along with a regular-season game against a New York team, was all Mahony needed.

“I was planning to go to Colgate, but things changed,” said Mahony.

The game against that New York team was a good one for Mahony as he scored seven of Mercer Island’s 12 goals. And the opposition’s head coach had connections.

“I guess he is good friends with some of the college coaches,” said Mahony. “He was asked who the best player he saw was and mentioned my name.”

That endorsement earned Mahony some momentum with coaches. The MIHS student received offers from Brown University and Dartmouth College among others.

But then his dream came true: Yale came calling.

“I wouldn’t have gotten in on my academics alone but the coaches sounded very interested,” said Mahony. “I was trying to get recruited. Their academics are unparalleled and that was what I really wanted.”

There was one catch. Mahony had already committed to going to Santa Clara for a year.

“We already put the deposit down for Santa Clara and I have a full ride there,” said Mahony.

Mahony had options, many options, but one real desire. The Islander graduate talked to as many people as he could, including former player Brant Howell and his older brother Kevin Mahony.

Both Howell, who is currently transferring to the University of Notre Dame to play lacrosse, and Kevin Mahony, who went to the University of Virginia to play lacrosse but was squeezed out by scholarship players, had enough experience to help out the younger player.

Mercer Island assistant football coach Larry Bencivengo, who watched from the sidelines as Mahony tore through the Seattle Prep defense for nearly 350 yards during the final football game of the season last year, graduated from Yale and also gave Mahony advice.

One of the biggest deciding factors was that Mahony would receive a full-ride scholarship from Santa Clara, but no athletic scholarship from Yale, an Ivy league school.

But one of the biggest factors for Mahony had to do with a family member.

“My grandpa went to Yale and he was really excited that I had this opportunity,” said Mahony.

But still locked into his commitment to go to Santa Clara for a year, Mahony worked out a scenario where he would attend the California school for a year, play on its club team and then transfer to Yale in 2008.

“I just have to study hard and get as many credits as I can that will transfer,” said Mahony, who was unsure any credits would transfer. “I might have to go into Yale as a freshman but I won’t lose a year of eligibility for lacrosse since Santa Clara’s not an NCAA team.”

While Mahony will ultimately play at and attend the college he really wanted in the first place, he still says he has something to prove.

“Coaches need to come out to the West Coast more,” said Mahony. “Maybe I can get them to come out more often.”

Mahony said that one of the reasons for his not going to Colgate was the lack of continuing interest from the coaching staff.

“I am ultimately going to their rivals, so we’ll see what happens,” said Mahony.

Mahony said that he wants to study some kind of science and maybe follow in his father Barry Mahony’s footsteps and become a doctor. And while his focus on academics has not changed, his stance on not playing professionally in Major League Lacrosse, if given the opportunity, has changed.

“A lot of people have told me that it is more of a side job,” said Mahony. “If I could have a real job and play on the side, I would go for that.”

With all that Mahony has accomplished, don’t be surprised to see him in Sports Center high lights with Yale and maybe in the pros.

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