Friday, August 26, 2022 | 10:33 AM
Marcus McCullough performed his ultimate soccer sport at Ringgold in 1987, shedding to New Fort within the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals.
Now he’s accountable for restoring the Rams’ program into the drive that it as soon as was, and he’s relishing that likelihood in his first season on the helm.
“It’s actually an honor that they’ve given me a chance to work with the youth and provides again to the place the place I grew up and performed,” McCullough stated. “Having the possibility to revive Ringgold’s program, with the custom that they as soon as had so far as being a aggressive soccer group, is an honor that I take very critically.”
The street forward will convey challenges for this Ringgold program. The Rams are coming off of a 3-7 season and transfer into an identical convention that options Connellsville, Latrobe, Laurel Highlands, McKeesport, Thomas Jefferson and Trinity. The Rams had been 0-4 towards these opponents final 12 months.
The primary steps for Ringgold contain making a profitable tradition with an emphasis on teamwork and selflessness.
McCullough could have a star-studded teaching workers to assist him with three former head coaches becoming a member of as assistants. Ed Jenkins, a former Charleroi head coach, is assistant head coach. Mark Adams, a former Southmoreland head coach, is the defensive coordinator. Cedric Lloyd, a former Uniontown head coach, is teaching the defensive position. Kris Hooper and Randy Simko have remained on workers and the group has been working collectively since March.
“I’ve been blessed to have a really dedicated and skilled teaching workers round me to assist me begin with this program,” McCullough stated.
One other high quality addition to the workers has been Greg Levander, who has “invigorated some vitality and woken up the fervour of a few of our gamers,” in keeping with McCullough. He stated the complete squad has been working extraordinarily onerous with Levander and that he’ll proceed to evangelise the significance of his program’s power and conditioning, identical to his coaches did when he performed.
All these items shall be necessary to turning issues round, and whereas the method will take time, McCullough believes progress has already been made.
“I really feel just like the group is choosing up on what we’re making an attempt to determine, and it’s a reasonably good feeling,” he stated. “It’s completely different on daily basis, and even I’m studying so much being in a special place.”
Senior quarterback Alex Coccagna has been handed the keys to the offense and is already beginning to grasp his new coach’s imaginative and prescient.
“This younger man may be very vibrant, and with a quarterback-heavy offense, he’s needed to be taught a complete lot in a short while,” McCullough stated. “He’s digested every part very nicely and he’s doing nice to date.”
Jerry Mease, Zach Cheplic and Jacob Pehowic will assist bolster the offensive line. They are going to be blocking for 2 operating backs, junior Maddox Sukel and sophomore Keyshawn Goggins, who will function as a committee. Coccagna’s receivers embrace Donte Newton, Evan Parsons and Jamar Bethea.
On protection, McCullough admitted that a number of younger gamers must step up and tackle greater roles. He additionally praised senior Kevin Willis as a frontrunner who underclassmen can look as much as and be taught from. He added that his defensive unit has “responded nicely” this summer time in studying a brand new system.
Because the Rams put together for the brand new season, they’re working to construct camaraderie, together with belief and appreciation for one another.
“I’d like to enhance on the group chemistry and the tradition all through this system,” McCullough stated. “I’d like to enhance on that via group constructing and simply attending to know the gamers on a private degree in addition to working with the mother and father and the local people a bit extra.
“Soccer is the last word group sport the place you might have 11 individuals working collectively at one time for one purpose. We have to belief one another, and we’ll get there with time.”
As a Ringgold graduate, McCullough desires to revive the success that he is aware of that the Rams are able to. This 12 months’s group will go so far as that keenness can take them.
“When this chance happened, I didn’t need to stroll away from my teaching profession considering that I didn’t get an opportunity as a head coach,” McCullough stated. “At this age (52), the place I’m at proper now, I’m simply pleased with this chance and I need to make the most effective of it.”
Forward of its first season beneath a brand new coach, Ringgold will look to boost the bar when it comes to not solely efficiency, but additionally expectations.
“A profitable season for us can be to make the playoffs, however we need to win greater than we’ve up to now few years,” McCullough stated. “Our purpose is to win each sport we play and compete on the highest degree, and we’re going to discover a manner to enhance on the previous few seasons.”
Coach: Marcus McCullough
2021 file: 3-7, 0-6 in Class 4A Large Eight Convention
All-time file: 249-274-12
Date, Opponent, Time
8.26 Elizabeth Ahead, 7
9.2 at McGuffey, 7
9.9 West Allegheny, 7
9.16 West Mifflin, 7
9.23 at Connellsville*, 7
9.30 McKeesport*, 7
10.7 at Latrobe*, 7
10.14 Thomas Jefferson*, 7
10.21 at Laurel Highlands*, 7
10.28 Trinity*, 7