tampabay.com

Drive to be the best

By simply wanting to be successful, Tyler McClintock struck a balance between his studies and three sports.

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published July 2, 2005


Tyler McClintock had a lot of decisions to make in high school.

In the fall, he had a football playbook to memorize. In the winter, he had to make split-second decisions about whether to shoot or pass on the basketball court. In the spring, he had to pay great attention to detail when it came to his form while tossing the shot put and discus.

But he never had to make a decision in the classroom.

There it was simple: only A's would suffice.

In four years at Calvary Christian, McClintock received nothing but. He balanced three sports with homework and managed to succeed at each.

But McClintock doesn't know everything. Just ask him when his last B was.

"I really can't remember," he said. "I guess in middle school ... well, probably, yeah, I'm sure I got some in middle school."

McClintock was a standout football player for Calvary Christian, part-time starter on the basketball team and a top field event scorer for the track team. He was the co-captain on all those teams and even gave golf a try as a freshman.

As a student, he was perfect. And it wasn't even close - McClintock averaged a 94 or better in 38 of the nearly 50 classes he took in four years.

His secret?

Wanting it.

"If you want to be successful, and I did, you decide to do it," McClintock said. "It's hard. It was difficult at times. But it was something I really wanted."

And it took sacrifices. McClintock said he always found time on the weekends for his friends and girlfriend, attending Devil Rays games and hanging out at the mall.

But during the school year, free time was scarce. McClintock is an early riser because he said it takes him a while to get going in the morning. He awakens at 5:30 a.m., gets to school at 7:30 to prepare for morning announcements, and after school ends at 3:30 heads out to practice or a game. On game nights, McClintock often was up until 1 a.m. doing homework.

"I only needed about five hours of sleep," McClintock said. "I never really stop. I guess if I slowed down and thought about it, I'd get tired."

McClintock said at an early age, his eyes always were on the bigger picture. His goals at the outset were to earn an athletic scholarship offer or get into the best school possible.

He achieved both. Though he only started playing football his freshman year, McClintock was part of the first team in school history and at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, became a top guard.

McClintock, who weighs 195 now, had some opportunities to play college football, and even flirted with the idea of doing so at Dartmouth, but ultimately took the chance to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

He chose the highly-regarded research university over Vanderbilt and Miami's honor program, to name a few.

He won't play any sports his freshman year - Johns Hopkins competes in Division III - but isn't ruling it out down the road.

Heck, he has even half-jokingly expressed an interest in lacrosse, a sport the Blue Jays have dominated at the Division I level, winning last season's national championship.

"We'll see what happens with sports, but I may play football again," McClintock said. "I definitely wouldn't rule it out."