McHale Named New Yale Captain

Will McHale. (photo by Kevin McCarthy)
Will McHale. (photo by Kevin McCarthy)

First Connecticut Native in 11 Years To Lead Blue


NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Following in a family line of Division I linebackers doesn't leave much room for distinction at home, unless you are junior Will McHale (Greenwich, Conn.), who became the 135th captain of the Yale football team at today's team banquet.

McHale, a third generation college linebacker, grew up hearing about his father and grandfather's (both named John) on-field exploits for Notre Dame. A tough act to follow, but the Bulldog defensive player has gone one-up on his two role models by becoming the leader of the 2012 Elis. Neither his father nor grandfather captained the Fighting Irish.

He was extremely poised at the Yale Commons during the team banquet when he stepped to the podium.  "This is an incredible honor. I am so excited to help lead our efforts in working toward an Ivy title," said McHale, who did not learn that he had won the election until today. "I can't wait to get going."

McHale, who never had thoughts of attending Notre Dame, finished second on the Bulldogs with 75 total tackles after having seven or more in eight of Yale's 10 games this fall. He started every game next to 2011 captain and middle linebacker Jordan Haynes (Folsom, Calif.), while earning the team's Hammer Award for the hardest hits of the year. McHale's most productive collegiate day was 11 solos and 13 overall stops this fall at Penn. He was eighth among Ivy defensive players with 7.9 tackles per game.

The fourth linebacker to be Yale captain in the last five years was elected after a unanimous vote by his teammates last Thursday at the Smilow Center following the morning practice. McHale is the first one from Connecticut since Tim Penna led the 2001 Elis.

Tom Williams, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football, announced the new captain at the conclusion of his address to the team. "Your new captain is intense, passionate, tireless and great for this team," said Williams before he announced McHale's name.

McHale, a three-time varsity letterman, has 133 career tackles and three interceptions.

He was a three-year varsity letterman at Greenwich High School and led the team with 86 tackles as a junior while earning second-team all-league and team defensive MVP honors. McHale, the first Yale football captain from Greenwich since Henry Higdon in 1962, played on Greenwich's 2006 and 2007 league and state championship teams but missed his senior season with an injury.

He sat next to his parents, John and Sally, at the banquet and the three of them quickly rose from their chairs when the announcement was made. Both parents have been regulars at the Yale games, though they have a son, Duncan, who is a senior rower at Brown, while John is Major League Baseball's Executive Vice President.


filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director