BOZEMAN – The players made their voices heard at Montana State’s football practice on Wednesday as they voted to select their captains for the upcoming season. And they chose three to represent them: senior defensive lineman Zach Wright, senior center Alex Neale, and junior wide receiver Kevin Kassis.
“It’s one of the greatest honors that you can imagine, just knowing that the guys believe in you that much and they respect you with everything you’ve done. It’s just the greatest honor.” said Zach Wright.
And for them to be handpicked by their peers makes the distinction that much more meaningful.
“I’m only a captain because of them, because they allowed me to be their captain. And knowing that you have the faith of all those guys that you’ve sweated with and shed blood with over all these years means the entire world to me.”
And for Kevin Kassis, the youngest of the three captains, this honor was somewhat unexpected.
“I’ve actually never been a team captain before, not even high school or anything along those lines,” Kassis smiled. “That’s why it was kind of a shocking deal. I think I did a good job this summer kind of asserting that role, but it’s an honor to be a captain here at Montana State.”
Kassis is stepping into a captain role that a familiar face, and one he looked up to last year, left behind — wide receiver Mitchell Herbert. And for Alex Neale, he too has an inspiration from the past group of captains in Dylan Mahoney.
“He obviously cared about all the newer guys that came in and always tried to push us and kind of push the culture that coach Choate was trying to impose upon us,” said Neale, a transfer from UNLV who is in his third and final year with the Cats. “He just cared, he just cared about all the guys. I just wanted to reflect in my career as well for all the younger guys, too.”
Neale may not have played all four years at Montana State, but the honor is still extremely touching. However, for someone like Zach Wright, who has been with MSU for five years, being named a captain sums up his entire career.
“You come in here as a freshman, you just put your head down and go to work. And the years start flying by, and I guess you look around at the end your senior year and you get picked captain. You just kind of reminisce of all those years of all that work you’ve done to get here,” Wright said with a smile.
While there may be one less captain than last year, these three men are ready to give it all they have for the blue and gold.
“I just want to love the guys with everything I’ve got,” Wright said when asked what kind of captain he will be. “There’s a golden rule in leadership — never ask somebody to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself. So that’s something I live by and just try to set a good example for all the other guys.”