FOOTBALL TRADITION IN ITS FOURTH YEAR OF HONORING EXTRAORDINARY ALUMNUS
Montini Catholic is proud to announce its 2021 'Bumber's Corner Locker' recipient, named after 1989 Montini graduate and football standout, Brad Bumber. This year's honor went to senior Bronco (LB/FB) Michael Carver. Michael received the news during the football team's weekly dinner on Thursday evening, September 2nd. "Michael truly embodies the everyday character and spirit of Brad Bumber," said Varsity Football Coach Mike Bukovsky, who selected Michael for the honor. "Like Brad was, Mike is a tough hard nosed player, and can always be counted on by his teammates. He is a year round leader, and one of the hardest workers on the team! He is a perfect choice to carry on Brad's legacy, with his everyday words and actions, and positive influence on his teammates and the Bronco Football Program!"
Montini Catholic student Brad Bumber '89 played linebacker for the Broncos from 1985 to 1989. He passed away on September 26, 2015 due to complications from his long battle with cancer. The unique idea to honor a current football player each year with the use of this special locker was the brainchild of Brad's teammate, Montini Catholic alumnus, Brian Forde' 89. Brian wanted to commemorate the memory of his friend. In the summer of 2018, during the renovation of Montini's locker rooms, he initiated the plan to create 'Bumber's Corner Locker.' Michael is the fourth Bronco to receive this honor (The 2020 season honor went to Patrick O'Connor '21, the 2019 season honor went to Patrick Peters '20 and the 2018 season honor went to Raymond Wojkovich '19).
"It’s such an honor to have received this honor," said Michael. "I know it means so much to Coach Bukovsky and the Montini football program. To be selected to represent (Brad) as a player and to have my name forever associated with this award is like a dream come true!" Michael's parents, Kevin and Barbara Carver (from Wheaton/members of Sacred Heart Parish in Lombard) were also thrilled upon hearing the news. "Their faces lit up when they found out that I won the award," added Michael. "I could tell how proud they were of me for receiving it."
A plaque has been installed in the locker listing the names of each year's Bumber's Corner Locker award recipient.
Brad Bumber & the History Behind Bumber's Locker Corner
The LaSallian Christian Brother educational tradition is structured to develop the spiritual, intellectual, social and physical development of students. During and after his time at Montini, Brad Bumber became a living example of the LaSallian traditions both on and off the football field, and how those traditions and values positively influence and shape students during and after high school, throughout their entire life.
Thanks to Brian Forde and his former Bronco teammates from the Class of 1989, each year, a Montini Catholic Bronco varsity football player will receive the honor to use the locker in Brad's honor. "Dedicating a football locker in his memory is the best way our class could think of to honor Brad's memory," said Forde. "The player chosen by his coaches to receive 'Bumber’s Corner' each year should feel extremely honored to be recognized for demonstrating similar attributes and qualities as Brad, and for the privilege to play Montini Bronco Football under the banner of his name and memory."
"Brad Bumber was the definition of a blue-collar player," said Forde, remembering his good friend. "He was never the fastest, strongest, or most naturally talented player on the field. Nobody outworked, out hustled or outperformed him and he never gave anything less than 100% - in the game, or at practice. "
According to Forde, Bumber genuinely loved being on the gridiron, and wanted to make every tackle on every play, but was also the first to congratulate his teammates for making a play. "Brad became our team captain, not only for his performance on the field, but equally because of the positive way he carried himself off the field. Through his daily commitment, work ethic, consistency, and good nature in the locker room, he earned the admiration and respect of his football teammates. He exemplified good sportsmanship, hard work, determination, and the confidence those traits naturally engender. He was a loyal teammate, and a morally grounded friend."
Forde also recalled that Brad would go out of his way to take freshmen players under his wing, encouraged them to work hard, and made them feel a part of the football brotherhood. "He wanted every Bronco who wore the jersey to love the game as much as he did, and for his entire team to succeed, together." Teammate Guy DeFeo '89 agrees about Brad's extraordinary demeanor on and off the field. “He was the ultimate teammate who didn’t need, or want, praise. He made everyone around him better just by his example.”
“Brad really took Coach (Chris) Andriano’s speeches, about good sportsmanship, to heart," remembered Forde. "We were playing Driscoll, who we hated. I mean hated. After every play he would amble over, smile and offer a hand to help the guy to his feet, the opposing ball carrier—who he just knocked into next week. And he did it again and again, with his huge grin. I’m pretty sure the Driscoll guys all thought he was kind of crazy.“
For all of these reasons, Brad Bumber was admired and respected amongst his teammates, coaches, and classmates. Montini Catholic remained so important to him personally, as well. One of Brad's last wishes was to return to Montini to see one last football game and spend time with his old friends and coaches. On Friday, September 18, 2015, that dream was realized. "At the time, he was in the final stage of a long battle with cancer. He had lost almost 90 pounds, and was in excruciating pain," remembers Forde, "In typical Baumber fashion, and against all odds, he showed up!"
Sadly, Brad passed away exactly one week after that final homecoming at the age of 45. "His natural everyday disposition was truly inspired by the Gospel’s golden rule, the traditions of the Catholic Church, and the spiritual teachings of St. John Baptist de La Salle," remembered Forde. "In the truest sense possible, Brad lived the principles instilled in us each day while at Montini."
Image Above: Michael Carver '20 with l to r: Brian Forde, Bob Starvel, Al Puglessi and Mike Mellon - all members of Montini Catholic's Class of 1989 and teammates of Brad Bumber.