When David Lough left Green High School in 2004, he was a multi-sport athlete headed to a Division II college to play baseball.

When he returned Jan. 10, Lough was the center of attention as his No. 5 Green baseball jersey was retired in a ceremony before the Bulldogs' boys basketball game against Tallmadge. Lough stood at center court as Green athletic director Bruce Johnson and Lough's former baseball coach, new varsity football coach Jon Wallace, spoke about his accomplishments at Green and as a professional athlete.

"It means a lot," Lough said. "When I look at my number, it's not just my number. I see a lot of numbers and a lot of faces and names, just the people who have touched me growing up, and my teammates. If it wasn't for them, that number's not being retired."

Wallace noted that coming out of Green, Lough did not receive interest from Division I schools and instead went to play at Mercyhurst College, a small school in Erie, Pa. He also pointed out that despite strong showings in the minor leauges and spring training, Lough was passed over repeatedly for a spot on the major league roster with the Kansas City Royals.

Lough, who was traded to the Baltimore Orioles on Dec. 18, said he carries many of the lessons with him that he learned growing up in Green.

"Just growing as a person ... trying to incorporate my education with my sports," Lough said of what he carries with him from his time at Green. "Being around friends and family ... I find that's what's most important. This is a tradition that's here to stay, and Green High School is all about staying together."

After signing autographs and posing for pictures throughout the junior varsity basktball game, Lough received a standing ovation as a banner with his jersey on it was unveiled high above the court. Wallace looked in the direction of the student section during his address to the crowd and challenged the students in attendance to use Lough's story as proof that they too can be great in their own lives.

"David Lough is a reminder that this community can be great and for all of the students, it's a reminder that you can be great," Wallace said.

Reach Andy at 330-580-8396 or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB