ND’s faith-driven MacCabe honored as leader on and off football field

March 22, 2023 at 6:46 p.m.
ND’s faith-driven MacCabe honored as leader on and off football field
ND’s faith-driven MacCabe honored as leader on and off football field

By Rich Fisher • Contributing Editor

Declan MacCabe learned long ago that the privilege of playing high school football did not recuse him from the responsibility of classroom work.

“My parents instilled in me at a young age that I am a student-athlete, not an athlete-student,” the Notre Dame, Lawrenceville senior said. “Although football is a huge part of my life, it is important to me that I gain the academic discipline and work ethic that will help me throughout my life.”

MacCabe has done just that and was awarded for his diligence March 12 as the Irish’s honoree at the 61st Annual George Wah Scholar-Leader-Athlete Dinner, hosted by the Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame at the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal. In addition to the $1,000 scholarship given to all honorees, MacCabe won the Ed Cook $1,500 scholarship.

Declan is also a leader in faith as a representative for ND’s Catholic Athletes for Christ organization.

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“That is important because it allows me not only to give back but express my faith and learn from the other members and people involved,” he said. “The organization works with so many different schools and people, which allows me to make new connections and form new friendships.”

On the gridiron, MacCabe was a three-year starter at linebacker, earning All-Area and All-Division honors as a junior and senior. He led the Irish with 98 tackles last fall and was named to the All-Non-Public and Super 100 All-State teams. During the spring, Declan is a captain and All-Area performer in lacrosse.

In the classroom, the Hopewell Township resident has a 93.3 (out of 100) grade-point average. Declan is a National Honor Society and Italian National Honor Society member, serves as a Peer Tutor and made Honor Roll with Distinction his first two years at ND.

“As the Advanced Placement Biology teacher, my class is meant to be challenging and a gateway to college science courses,” Notre Dame Science Department Chair Hope Brennan-Bauch said. “Declan met every challenge placed in front of him and became an active member of my class. His pleasant demeanor and strong work ethic made him a favorite of his classmates and a favorite of mine.”

MacCabe attends Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton, where at the urging of ND’s late CAC director John McKenna, he performs charity work such as food drives and distributing Thanksgiving meals.

“Coach McKenna was a huge influence on me giving back to the community in those ways,” MacCabe said.

He also volunteers for the March of Dimes and Special Olympics, and next year will play football at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., while majoring in political science and economics.    

“Declan is always willing to help those less fortunate,” Clancy said. “He engages in service truly from his heart as a three-year leader in our Catholic Athletes for Christ, always going beyond what is expected. He has a great deal of confidence in himself, which is demonstrated in his holistic involvements at Notre Dame.”


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Declan MacCabe learned long ago that the privilege of playing high school football did not recuse him from the responsibility of classroom work.

“My parents instilled in me at a young age that I am a student-athlete, not an athlete-student,” the Notre Dame, Lawrenceville senior said. “Although football is a huge part of my life, it is important to me that I gain the academic discipline and work ethic that will help me throughout my life.”

MacCabe has done just that and was awarded for his diligence March 12 as the Irish’s honoree at the 61st Annual George Wah Scholar-Leader-Athlete Dinner, hosted by the Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame at the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal. In addition to the $1,000 scholarship given to all honorees, MacCabe won the Ed Cook $1,500 scholarship.

Declan is also a leader in faith as a representative for ND’s Catholic Athletes for Christ organization.

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“That is important because it allows me not only to give back but express my faith and learn from the other members and people involved,” he said. “The organization works with so many different schools and people, which allows me to make new connections and form new friendships.”

On the gridiron, MacCabe was a three-year starter at linebacker, earning All-Area and All-Division honors as a junior and senior. He led the Irish with 98 tackles last fall and was named to the All-Non-Public and Super 100 All-State teams. During the spring, Declan is a captain and All-Area performer in lacrosse.

In the classroom, the Hopewell Township resident has a 93.3 (out of 100) grade-point average. Declan is a National Honor Society and Italian National Honor Society member, serves as a Peer Tutor and made Honor Roll with Distinction his first two years at ND.

“As the Advanced Placement Biology teacher, my class is meant to be challenging and a gateway to college science courses,” Notre Dame Science Department Chair Hope Brennan-Bauch said. “Declan met every challenge placed in front of him and became an active member of my class. His pleasant demeanor and strong work ethic made him a favorite of his classmates and a favorite of mine.”

MacCabe attends Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton, where at the urging of ND’s late CAC director John McKenna, he performs charity work such as food drives and distributing Thanksgiving meals.

“Coach McKenna was a huge influence on me giving back to the community in those ways,” MacCabe said.

He also volunteers for the March of Dimes and Special Olympics, and next year will play football at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., while majoring in political science and economics.    

“Declan is always willing to help those less fortunate,” Clancy said. “He engages in service truly from his heart as a three-year leader in our Catholic Athletes for Christ, always going beyond what is expected. He has a great deal of confidence in himself, which is demonstrated in his holistic involvements at Notre Dame.”

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