Mike Cullen has had the thrill of helping two Stafford County athletic programs during their infancy stages.
Cullen took that experience to his position as the assistant athletic director at Caroline.
Cullen was on hand at Brooke Point when the Black-Hawks opened in the 1993–94 school year as he assisted former AD Chris Courtney. He joined Courtney at Mountain View when it opened in 2005.
Cullen remained on the Wildcats’ staff for three years before he headed south to Caroline in 2008. His colleagues like Caroline AD Paul Heizer say he’s been an asset to the athletic program ever since.
On Friday nights, there’s Cullen manning the front gate and checking passes. He also handles much of the department’s finances including ticket sale reports.
During the week, he’s helped line the fields.
“People don’t realize the behind the scenes of just running a Friday night football game, from making sure we have referees to communicating with the visiting team,” Cullen said. “A lot of that falls on Paul, but I try to assist him with anything that he does.”
Cullen has also taught in Prince William County. He spent 12 years at Brooke Point before he headed to Mountain View. He served as an assistant baseball and girls basketball coach at Brooke Point. He said his latest position has been a joy.
He said he mostly enjoys seeing the students in a different atmosphere than the school building. He said encouraging students in their extracurricular activities enhances relationships.
“The kids really do appreciate when they see you at a game,” Cullen said. “And you’re always excited for Friday nights. I just enjoy seeing the community come out and support the kids.”
The Cavaliers’ record last season wasn’t indicative of the team’s ability on offense. Head coach Doug Allison hopes to clean that up this season behind an experienced offensive line and a couple of dynamic ball carriers. Senior Dalton Mauck is the starting quarterback after taking a year off from football. Allison said Mauck has “a good chip on his shoulder.” Running back Sivon Pleasants spent time at quarterback and receiver last season, but returns stronger. Shifty sophomore receiver Dominique Washington will get carries in the Cavaliers’ single-wing attack. The offensive line is led by returning starters Chester Monroe, a senior, and sophomore Kam Fox.
First-year coordinator Gary Jones brings an attacking style of defense. Andrew Morris anchors the defensive front from the middle of the line and the Cavaliers hope newcomers Hawkin Mills and Darius Fortune provide a boost on the edge. Shawn Fortune has the size and ability to be a factor at middle linebacker. Outside linebacker Brandon Arzuaga has been Caroline’s most dedicated offseason participant while fellow senior outside linebacker Shahram Hamid looks to build on a solid junior season. Senior cornerback Tyrell Patterson is a vocal leader. Safeties Izaiah Daniels, a Warwick transfer, and Austin Bise have shown promise.
Allison hopes for improvement once kicker and punter Gabe Shire is healthy. The Cavaliers potentially have a few dynamic return men who need better blocking.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Allison has a complete seven-man coaching staff this season after going through his first campaign with three full-time assistants. The Cavaliers have 35 juniors and seniors, but their strength and conditioning is a work in progress. They should be able to navigate the nonconference schedule but it will likely be tough sledding in an improved Battlefield District.