Cretin-Derham Hall's receiver completes his route

  • Article by: DEAN SPIROS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 29, 2007 - 8:39 PM

By staying the course, even under some adverse conditions, senior wide receiver Michael Floyd will go down as one of the athletic greats at storied Cretin-Derham Hall. Summary.

Where's he going?

School doesn't start for a couple more hours, yet there's Michael Floyd hopping on a city bus on St. Paul's east side at 6 a.m. Changing buses downtown, he makes it across town to Cretin-Derham Hall High School in time to start his work study program by 6:45.

He's off each morning with the blessings of his mother, a woman of deep faith who will be forever thankful for her son's fateful journey. Theresa Romero had cried after attending Cretin's summer open house four years ago, knowing as a single parent of five there was no way she could afford to send her son to the private school.

"It was a mom's dream," Romero said. "There is no way a kid can't make it there unless he absolutely doesn't want to."

Floyd assured his mom that, together, they could make it work. Their success story is about to resume in earnest as Floyd returns to the classroom for his senior year and to the national spotlight as a gifted wide receiver.

Floyd, 6-3, 205 pounds, a fluid sprinter with exceptional hands, can name the college he would like to play for next season, but has yet to do so. Notre Dame offered him a scholarship after his sophomore season, which is unprecedented in Cretin's storied athletic history.

Doors are continuing to open up for the kid who has had little more than a roof over his head.

Romero, "too poor" to buy the latest basketball shoes her son fell in love with while in Las Vegas last month for an AAU basketball tournament, gathered herself after yet more tears had fallen and apologized to her son for not taking advantage of her own educational opportunities. If the youngest of Romero's children -- and her only son -- is paying the price, he appears to have avoided the added expense that comes with bitterness.

"That's the position I'm in," Floyd said. "You just get over the humps. I've been doing it so far."

Floyd's job in Cretin's fitness center helps pay some of the tuition, and his mom works at the concession stands at the Metrodome and Xcel Energy Center. Romero knows the people at Cretin have played their part, too, just as her heart had told her they would four years ago.

"I didn't even know Cretin was known for sports," Romero said.

Floyd certainly did. Football has always been his game, and he identified Cretin as the place that could help him maximize his skills. His father, Michael Floyd Sr., who has never lived with the family but has remained a part of his son's life, always has stressed that doing the right thing applies both on and off the field.

So, for the most part, Floyd has said goodbye to his rough-and-tumble neighborhood and accepted a new way of life.

"I don't know if I would have ever done well in school if I didn't go to Cretin," said Floyd, who carries a B average in college prep courses. "They are really high on academics, and I try my hardest. You want to be a good athlete, but you don't want to be looked at as a dummy."

Floyd said his father is always telling him he doesn't want him outside when he's home, knowing that only bad things can come of it. Floyd has come to spend most of his free time in and around Cretin.

"The guys I used to hang out with before I went to Cretin are always getting into trouble," Floyd said. "I'd probably be doing the same."

Instead, he's out of the house at daybreak for a full day that won't end until 7 that night. He goes to bed anxious to get up the next morning and do it all again.

"There would have been easier paths for Michael to take," Cretin coach Mike Scanlan said, "but I think he chose not to because he understood what this school had to offer him. As much as he has been a gift to us, I'm sure he knows this has been a good place for him."

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