FIRE BREATHER- EPISODE 3
Walk into the Athletic Office Complex at Grove City College and say you are from Purchase Line High School and the first thing they will say back to you is, “Brock McCullough came from there, and he’s a legend here.” Brock McCullough had all the God given tools to be successful on the football field, and that became clear early on. I remember seeing Brock when he was in grade school and thinking, this kid is going to be an athlete. He didn’t disappoint, he became a Fire Breather.
After not playing his Sophomore season, McCullough endured “the hardest training camp I have ever experienced” and led the County in interceptions with 7, as a Junior. His 1995 all Gazetteland and Progressland selections that season were cemented in stone during a nail biting, hard fought win against Homer Center. McCullough had 4 interceptions for 155 return yards, including a pick six, in one of the greatest individual defensive performances in PL history. The Red Dragons would go on and finish the season at 7-2, and McCullough started a journey that would lead to his future legendary status.
Going into the 1996 season, Coach Price, McCullough and the rest of the Red Dragons team were on a mission to get into the District Championship game. Once again McCullough led the County in interceptions with 6 and was an all Gazetteland and Progressland selection. McCullough states, “There were so many great memories, we had two great seasons, and not by accident, we were talented and worked hard.” Remembering one of those memories from his senior campaign, McCullough recounted a 28-0 win over Northern Cambria, “ We literally ran the same unbalanced run play every play, I personally kept telling their defense exactly where we were going to run the ball and they NEVER stopped it all night!” That was the case for a lot of the Dragons opponents that season, as PL racked up 8 wins and played for the District championship, but lost to Moshannon Valley.
McCullough stated, “In sixth grade the entire 1990 Red Dragon football team where like gods, they visited the PL south elementary for a pep rally, Dave Straw (Red Dragon Great 1990) shook my hand and honestly I still have vivid memories of that day and going to all their playoff games. I still hate Canevin Catholic, Al Kaufman, and pulled hamstrings!” Maybe that was the inspiration that drove what would become the fastest man in PL history. McCullough still holds the record in the 100 Meter dash with Mike Shaffer at just over 11 flat. Whatever the motivation, McCullough took that raw speed to Division 3 Grove City. David Lightner a high school teammate of McCullough told me, “Brock was one of the best shut down corners I’ve ever seen.” The stats and recognition would support that. In 1999, McCullough led the Wolverines to a comeback homecoming victory by tying the Grove City record with a 3 interception game, the final pick was made in the end zone to save the game with 3 seconds left. http://www2.gcc.edu/sports/football/fb9907.htm. His college Coach at the time Chris Smith called him a “Great Defensive Back.” Performances like that led him to a 2000 Aztec bowl selection, a game in which Division 3 all stars are recognized.
After graduating in 2001, McCullough worked two seasons as the outside linebacker and wide receivers coach at Clarion University. In 2003 he returned to his college Alma Mater as defensive backs and strength coach. In 2004 he was hired at Shenandoah University, in Winchester, Virginia. He is in his seventh year at the University, where he now serves as Associate Head Coach, with a focus on the offensive side of the ball. In 2012 he served as the acting Head Coach for the first game of the season, which turned out to be their lone victory of the year. McCullough and his wife Jen have two daughters Rowan and Kennedy.
***THE FIRE BREATHER SERIES IS INTENDED TO REVIST SOME OF OUR GREATEST FOOTBALL PLAYERS. THE DEFINITION OF A FIRE BREATHER, IS SOMEONE WHO IS A PASSIONATE, DRIVEN INDIVIDUAL WHO THROUGH HARD WORK HAS TAKEN THEIR GOD GIVEN TALENT AND CREATED SUCCESS AND MADE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON AND OFF THE FOOTBALL FIELD. THESE STORIES SERVE AS A TESTAMENT TO THE VALUE OF SPORT, IN DEVELOPING LIFE LONG CHARACTER TRAITS IN YOUNG MEN. IF ANYONE HAS ANY PERSONS IN MIND FOR FUTURE EPISODES, PLEASE DROP ME AN EMAIL. IT IS OUR GOAL TO CONTINUE TO DEVELOP FIRE BREATHERS AT PLHS THROUGH OUR FOOTBALL PROGRAM. TO READ MORE FIRE BREATHER EPISODES, GO TO THE ARTICLE TAB, CLICK MORE AND THEN CLICK HISTORY.