Attending an Ivy League school is a dream often manifested at a young age, but that wasn't the case for Pingree football star Tim Dowd who recently committed to continue his gridiron career at Harvard University in the fall of 2020.
In fact, Dowd continuing football — much less playing for the Crimson's pigskin squad — was still in question until about midway through his junior year.
"I honestly was looking at a lot of places to play lacrosse," said the two-sport athlete. "I really didn't even think going to an Ivy was at all possible until my coaches told me I could pull it off ... I just kept thinking 'no way, come on man' but they really believed I could do it."
The incoming senior cited head football coach Mike Flynn as a major motivator during the whole process along with Dowd's assistant lacrosse coach Mike Montegro. With Flynn being a 10-year veteran of the National Football League his connections to coaches and scouts around the country proved extremely helpful — even if the wide receiver/corner back will practically be playing in his backyard.
"Coach Flynn was instrumental and really all the credit goes to him for making this happen," said Dowd, who led Pingree in receptions and receiving yards this past season. "He knows a million people and really helped me with every step along the way. Even Coach Mike (Montegro) was encouraging me to pursue football — he was actually the first one to say it to me."
From there Dowd's Cambridge-bound fate seemed all but inevitable. The Harvard-commit signed up for a few Ivy League skill camps scattered throughout the beginning of the spring and as recently as two weeks ago where he made his first big step.
A mere 20 minutes into a Harvard-run camp that had a tick over 100 participants, Dowd and just nine other players were pulled from the action and given a lengthy tour of the athletic facilities. Another two weeks after that, he found himself in head coach Tim Murphy's office shaking his hand in agreement to join the Crimson.
"He was just telling me he liked how I played from what he's seen," said Dowd. "After that we just had a conversation about expectations, what he'll be looking from me, etc. ... then all of the sudden he said he'd love to have me aboard and we shook on it."
While this is a life changing blessing, Dowd and the Highlanders still have unfinished business as he enters his senior year. Pingree enjoyed renewed success this past fall when they turned in a 7-0-1 regular season, but came up short in the Hollingsworth Bowl to St. Paul's 16-6. Despite moving on to arguably the most famous university in the country, Dowd is all in for Pingree.
"There's really not much different," said the college-bound star. "Our expectations for this season are high and we are shooting for an undefeated season. We know how good we can be and we can't wait to go out and prove it this fall."