Philadelphia High School Football
A Look at
Bob Cullman's 25-Year
Coaching Career at Central High
page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recaps of wins in
games and the names of All-Public/All-City honorees during Coach Cullman's 25 seasons.
. . . To provide additions/corrections:firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
PLEASE NOTE: Bob was also Central's baseball coach for 30 seasons (1968-97). Some
details for that part of his career are at the very bottom of this page.
Thanks to Robert Del Femine ('76) for his help.
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Bob Cullman coached Central's football team for 25 seasons (1972-96), winning 163 games and three Public League championships. In 1985, the Lancers overcame a late blunder to edge George Washington, 18-17, for Bob's second title. Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
Mike Roche, Central High's talented junior quarterback, resides in Southwest
SEASON BY SEASON
Cullman several times in the
past promised to open up his run-at-all-costs offense, but failed to
deliver. This year, he
finally realized that footballs were meant to fly, at least occasionally, and Roche and junior Rich Drayton blossomed into one
of the league's better-ever combos.
Roche-to-Drayton hookups of 23 and 38 yards were instrumental in Central's first and third scoring drives, while a 34-yard
halfback pass from Averell Stith to Billy Henry set up the second.
"Last year, (Cullman) said we'd throw like crazy and we didn't. He didn't say anything this year and we threw pretty
much," Roche said, laughing. "I guess that was the key. He didn't say it, so we did it."
In the past five years, the racial composition of Central's football team has undergone a gradual change from a 50-50 blend
of blacks and whites (including a heavy dose of Italians from South Philadelphia) to almost totally black, especially among
those who receive meaningful playing time.
If Roche, who is white and lives in the section where racial tensions have brought about a state of emergency, maintained
the racial prejudices of some of his neighbors, and if his teammates knew he maintained them, the situation could have
gotten downright ugly the past few weeks.
"Black, white. That stuff doesn't affect me," Mike said. "The younger generation isn't involved in that stuff, at least not
the people I know. It's people in their 30s and 40s. They're so used to things being a certain way.
"West Catholic's the main school around me. Scott Thompson and Albie Crosby (black football players for West) live
around me. Nobody bothers them. Kids ask, 'What's it like playing at Central?' I say, 'Those guys are big and talented and
we get along great. That's all I care about.' "
Speaking of care, Roche, along with Drayton, recently showed that in another area.
The coaches' All-Public team is compiled on an allotment basis, with each division champion receiving six spots, the
runner-up five and so forth down the standings. Roche and Drayton rank among Central's top five players, along with
two-way lineman Kenyatta Rush, linebacker Lance Adams and fullback Adrian Smith, but they told Cullman not to pick
"We have a lot of good seniors," Roche said. "The more seniors we have make All-Public, the more they have a chance to
get chosen for the City All- Star Game. It wouldn't have done us any good. We would have just been names on a list.
"Now, if a senior can get into that game and play well, he may get a scholarship. I'll be up in the stands, watching and
cheering. I'll play next year."
He'll throw, too. Perhaps very often.
TITLE TIDBITS: Central owns a perfect season (10-0, counting forfeit win over William Penn) for the first time since
at least the mid-1920s. "We had a team of doers, not screamin' demons," Bob Cullman said . . . Adrian Smith (30 carries,
98 yards) scored two touchdowns, Mike Roche the other . . . Washington scored three plays into the game on a 66-yard
screen pass from Keith Singleton to Cleon Jones . . . With 6:27 left, Singleton was temporarily knocked out of the game
on a late hit that moved the ball to the 9. The efforts of Kenyatta Rush and Lance Adams helped the Lancers hold, as
did an ineligible receiver call on third down, and Rick Pohl (successful earlier from 43 yards) missed a 35-yard field goal.
This story was written after Bob steered Central to the 1988 Pub championship . . .
By Ted Silary
Fran Schnering ended his scholastic basketball career three years ago, after spending a frustrating season on Central
High's junior varsity.
"The guy who controlled the ball would never pass," he said. "I didn't like that one-man-offense stuff."
Funny. During this just-completed football season, Schnering, as the quarterback, controlled the ball for Central and
he never passed, either. At least not much. By design.
"There was hardly ever a need, not with the way Jerrod (Washington) and 'Sundi' (Sundiata Rush) can run,"
Schnering said. "Our game plan didn't call for it."
Then came Saturday, and the Public League championship game at Northeast High. Again, the running of Washington
(23 carries, 92 yards, 1 touchdown) and Rush (18-51) accounted for much of the offense in a 14-6 victory over George
Washington that enabled Central to finish unbeaten (11-0) for the second time in four years.
But the running game didn't account for all of the offense. Schnering, a 6-1, 185-pound senior, completed 7 of 10
passes for 89 yards and the game's first touchdown, a 33-yarder to Eric Mobley. He also completed a two-point pass
to Derrick Smith following Washington's 7-yard, third-quarter TD scamper.
"I knew I had the ability to throw," said Schnering, who for the season completed 32 of 72 passes for 652 yards and
7 TDs. "It was a matter of getting the call. The chance was there today."
"We knew we could throw, but nobody would believe me," said coach Bob Cullman. "I kept saying we had a
quarterback and receivers. If we had to throw, we could throw. We could play with anyone (using that approach).
"After the day Fran had today, there's no telling what level of college ball he could play. He threw the eyes out of the
ball. Did you see that one play, where the snap went over his head, he picked the ball up, then threw it blind exactly to
he guy he was supposed to throw it to? What a play. That's the kind of athlete he is."
Schnering's 1987 season consisted of 1 1/2 games. He split time at quarterback in the opener, then ran the show in
the Thanksgiving game with Northeast after the original starter had become academically ineligible.
"He hurt his knee, then disappeared," Cullman said. "He wasn't around at all."
"It was a strain," said Schnering, a South Philadelphia resident and CYO basketball all-star. "Temple Sports Medicine
had me in a cast for five days, then told me to stay off it. Hardly being able to play made for a frustrating year.
"When I played football for EOM (South Philly youth organization), I was a center. But when I came to Central, I
tried out for quarterback because I knew I had a strong enough arm."
Washington scored on Jim Wark's 10-yard pass to soph Doug Tulley with 10:09 left . . . The Eagles again threatened
with less than two minutes left, but Bernard Brown intercepted Wark's pass on Central's 7 and ripped off a 48-yard
return . . . Bob Cullman: "No one can say we played patsies. We defeated four teams from Division A (Frankford,
Lincoln, Northeast, Washington)." . . . Fran Schnering: "Coach Cullman said all year, 'The only thing that can beat us
is us.' "
This story was written after Bob won his first PL crown in 1974 . . .
Below are the players who earned first team Coaches' All-Public honors during
Cullman's 25 seasons as the coach at Central.
|Joe Whalen||T||1972||Ray Vaughan||L||1984|
|Ron Porter||QB||1972||Kurt Wikiera||L||1984|
|Jacques Blackman||DL||1972||Bob Kilroy||L||1984|
|Frank Playo||DB||1972||Jon Irvine||Rec.||1984|
|Chris Jehlowski||G||1973||Keith Hodges||RB||1984|
|Derick Gallman||E||1973||John Barber||LB||1984|
|Larry Wiacek||DE||1973||Billy Edwards||L||1985|
|Quinton Newcombe||DB||1973||David Rosario||Rec.||1985|
|Bob Keels||E||1974||Adrian Smith||RB||1985|
|Daryl Payton||B||1974||Kenyatta Rush||DL||1985|
|Bob Fecanin||B||1974||Lance Adams||LB||1985|
|John Long||K||1974||Jason Lewis||DB||1985|
|Mark Sydow||LB||1974||Rich Drayton||Rec.||1986|
|Frank Armstrong||L||1975||Dennis Barnes||Rec.||1986|
|John Long||L||1975||Oscar Turner||Rec.||1986|
|Bob Keels||E||1975||Mike Roche||QB||1986|
|Joe Stellabotte||RB||1975||Jon Ford||LB||1986|
|Nick Peppinelli||L||1976||John White||DB||1986|
|Joe LaRussa||RB||1976||Jorge Moyett||L||1987|
|Mike Wisher||DL||1976||Jerrod Washington||RB||1987|
|David Eggleston||DL||1976||Tyson Price||LB||1987|
|Pete Gualtieri||LB||1976||Earl Gamble||LB||1987|
|Steve Metzinger||L||1977||Jerrod Washington||B||1988|
|Roy Sherrod||L||1977||Sundiata Rush||B||1988|
|Jeff Chapman||E||1977||Derrick Smith||B||1988|
|Pete Gualtieri||B||1977||Mark Hrubar||L||1988|
|Lavord Burns||B||1977||Eric Mobley||L||1988|
|Dwayne Wilson||DB||1977||Manny Williams||L||1988|
|Kurtis Todd||RB||1978||Robert Irlan||RB||1989|
|Ivan O'Connor||DL||1978||James Armington||DL||1989|
|Alan Peaks||DL||1978||John Iacobacci||LB||1989|
|George Godfrey||LB||1978||Bill "Scooter" Sedgwick||DB||1989|
|Joe Carlini||L||1979||Josh Todd||L||1990|
|Al Twyman||Rec.||1979||Todd Richardson||RB||1990|
|Dave Wasson||QB||1979||Warren Hilton||DL||1990|
|Scott Glenn||DL||1979||Roman McDonald||RB||1991|
|Mark Ross||DL||1979||Richard Cubbage||RB||1991|
|Scott Glenn||L||1980||Tyson Bellamy||LB||1991|
|Pete Stolzer||L||1980||Chris Camburn||K||1991|
|Vic Bellamy||Rec.||1980||Marc Wilson||RB||1992|
|Joel Murphy||QB||1980||Frank Lundy||RB||1992|
|Nick Silenok||DL||1980||Walt Campbell||DL||1992|
|Dennis Golden||DB||1980||Quentin Fuller||L-DL||1993|
|Greg Watson||L||1981||Brian Smith||LB||1993|
|Vernon Robinson||L||1981||Omar Barlow||RB-LB||1993|
|Cordell Chapman||RB||1981||Robin Pitt||L||1994|
|Bill Cullman||LB||1981||Lamar Kennedy||L||1994|
|Kent Cooke||L||1982||Ernest Hines||RB||1994|
|Dave Rodden||L||1982||Akhnaton Browne||RB||1995|
|Marc DeBeary||Rec.||1982||Khalif Stripling||L||1995|
|Brian Davis||LB||1982||Jeff Riley||LB||1995|
|Darren Tatom||DB||1982||Sean Ryan||RB-LB||1996|
|David Chapman||L||1983||Raheem Islam||Rec.-DL||1996|
Recaps of Wins in Public League
Recaps of Wins in Public League Championship Games
|Lineups of Public League Champions|
Mike Soper, c
Bob Santore, ss
Stan Hendrickson, cf
Matt Melone, 1b
Bill Zitomer, p
Steve Schwartz, lf
Frank Armstrong, rf
John Sykes, 3b
Andy Hogg, 2b
Ron Jones, ss
Joe Dugan, cf
Marc Priest, p
Chuck McCaffrey, lf
Chris Camburn, rf
Chris Whittle, c
Chuck Meissler, 2b
Chuck Rivel, 1b
Walt Campbell, 3b
Michael Tatom, rf
Ron Jones, cf
Joe Dugan, p
Walt Campbell, 3b
Rob Mayer, 1b
Mike Shaughnessy, lf
Chuck Meissler, 2b
Tony Schimony, ss
John Matta, dh
Pat Carney, c
are primary honorees during Bob
Cullman's 30 seasons (1968-97) as
the baseball coach at Central. Coaches' All-Public throughout (where available)
and Daily News All-City (1978-forward)
NOTE: First team DN All-Public honoree in 1978 was Joe Starosta (P); First
team DN All-Public honorees in 1980 were Vic Condora (1B) and John
|FIRST TEAM ALL-PUBLIC||FIRST TEAM ALL-CITY|
|Unavailable '68/'71/'76/'78/'80||John Marzano||C||1980|
|Charles Jackson||OF||1969||John Marzano||C||1981|
|Nick Busillo||OF||1970||Rich Danson||P||1983|
|Warren McAllister||SS||1972||Rich Fernandez||OF||1987|
|Tom Meahl||SS||1973||Jason Lavala||P||1988|
|Ron Porter||OF||1973||Jim Krzywicki||OF||1989|
|Bob Santore||SS||1974||Joe Dugan||OF||1994|
|Steve Martynenko||OF||1974||Joe Dugan||OF||1994|
|Bob Santore||SS||1975||Tim Greco||INF||1996|
|Stan Hendrickson||OF||1975||SECOND TEAM ALL-CITY|
|Bill Zitomer||P||1975||Allen Taylor||OF||1979|
|Bill Zitomer||OF||1977||Joe Coccia||INF||1984|
|Joe Starosta||OF||1977||Rich Fernandez||P||1986|
|John Marzano||3B||1979||Jim Aversa||1B||1989|
|Allen Taylor||OF||1979||Marc Priest||OF||1992|
|Bob Marra||1B||1981||Bob Dintino||OF||1997|
|John Marzano||C||1981||THIRD TEAM ALL-CITY|
|Leon Midgette||OF||1981||Joe Starosta||P||1978|
|Dan D'Imperio||OF||1982||Frank Santore||INF||1979|
|Joe Coccia||2B||1983||Vic Condora||1B||1980|
|Dan D'Imperio||OF||1983||Leon Midgette||OF||1981|
|Rich Danson||P||1983||Dan D'Imperio||OF||1983|
|Mark Thiboldeaux||1B||1984||Mike Vaughan||OF||1984|
|Vince Pinto||2B||1984||Jordan Hesbacher||DH||1986|
|Pete Kosofsky||C||1984||Jim Krzywicki||INF||1988|
|Mike Vaughan||OF||1984||Marc Priest||OF||1991|
|Joe Coccia||P||1984||Chuck McCaffrey||OF||1992|
|Ken Ridolfi||2B||1985||Walt Campbell||INF||1993|
|Vince Pinto||C||1985||Joe Dugan||OF||1993|
|Jordan Hesbacher||OF||1986||Tony Schimony||INF||1995|
This story was written after in 1993 Bob guided the Lancers to a second
consecutive PL crown . . .
By Ted Silary
Joe Dugan and baseball championship games are not exactly a match made in health heaven.
After earning a save last June when Central edged Frankford, 7-6, for the Public League title, Dugan missed
an entire summer of outside competition with shoulder woes that later required surgery.
Yesterday at La Salle University, in the fourth inning of an entertaining, title-game battle between the Lancers
and George Washington, Dugan aggravated a muscle pull in his left thigh while legging out a double.
By game's end, the junior lefthander was nearly a candidate for heart-bypass surgery.
Central won, 4-3, but not before Dugan surrendered two unearned runs in the top of the seventh after first
baseman Rob Mayer dropped the ball on what should have been a game-ending, doubleplay relay throw from
second baseman Chuck Meissler.
Ryan "Rusty" Share and Mark Roque followed the miscue with run-scoring singles, then losing pitcher Jordan
Nicgorski rocketed a low line drive at third baseman Walt Campbell.
When Campbell caught the screamer, he ended Central's mushrooming consternation.
"Oh, man. They were hitting me that last inning," Dugan said. "I was beginning to . . . "
His voice trailed off. Was he beginning to wonder? Have doubts? Fear the worst?
"It was getting tough," he said, smiling.
Imagine how Mayer felt.
"I was thinking, 'If they come back, the entire team is going to be on me, even the coaches,' " said Mayer,
whose two-run single provided a 2-0 lead in the fourth. "But I felt confident that (Dugan) was going to get us
out of it.
"I kind of wanted the ball hit to me. I wanted to get the last out myself."
In last year's title game, Dugan pitched hitless ball over 1 2/3 innings to save Marc Priest's win.
The next time he tried to throw, he experienced pain that no salve hawked by Joe Namath was going to relieve.
The initial diagnosis was tendinitis and Dugan was told to avoid baseball for the next three months while sticking
to an exercise program. When the pain did not subside, arthroscopic surgery was performed last October by Dr.
John Kelly, of Temple University's Sports Medicine Centers.
"It wasn't full-scale," Dugan said. "Some ligaments were loose in there."
Dugan began a soft-toss program in January and was able to serve the Lancers as a hitter and fielder by the
start of the season. He missed about one month of pitching, however.
"We brought him along slow," said coach Bob Cullman. "He made one start (before the playoffs). He was
mostly our closer."
Entering play yesterday, Dugan was 1-0 with three saves and no ERA. In fact, he had allowed no runs at all in
23 1/3 innings. He'd yielded seven hits and two walks while recording 38 strikeouts.
Dugan walked one Eagle (and hit one), was limited to three strikeouts and yielded 11 hits. But he stranded nine
runners, including five in scoring position.
"I came over here on Sunday with my brother, Jim," Dugan said. "I wanted to get used to the mound. This one
has soft dirt. Central's is much harder."
The muscle pull occurred last Saturday as Dugan ran down a fly ball while playing the outfield for the
Loudenslager American Legion team.
With one out in the fourth, Dugan ended Nicgorski's no-hit bid with his double. He pulled up lame as he neared
second base, then gave way to pinch- runner Brian Cammarota under the re-entry rule.
"It bothered me the rest of the way," Joe said. "If I could not have pushed off the mound, I would not have
Said Cullman: "When you aggravate a pull like that, it hurts like crazy at first. If you don't sit down, you can
usually go with it a while. But I'm sure he'll be feeling it (today)."
After Dugan doubled, Campbell sent a popup into shallow centerfield that fell for a double. Cammarota had to
play it safe and only got as far as third. Next, Washington coach Joe O'Hara went with a five-man infield.
Rightfielder Frank Grabon moved to third base and third baseman Roque and first baseman Share crept to within
30 feet of the plate. Also, the middle infielders, shortstop Keith Kabrhel and second baseman Mike Curry, moved
onto the grass.
Mayer slashed a two-run single to center.
"I thought Mr. Cullman might have me bunt," Mayer said. "I was happy when I looked down and he said,
'C'mon, Rob, hit the ball! ' I guess they were expecting a bunt.
"There were so many open spaces out there. If I got my bat on the ball, it had a chance to go through. I just
wanted to make sure I didn't strike out."
Said Cullman: "I wasn't bunting. No way. Rob doesn't strike out much. In fact, he usually makes hard contact. To
move everyone around like that, they gave it to us."
Washington scored in the fifth on catcher Terry Burstein's RBI double, but Central negated that run in the bottom
half as rightfielder Michael Tatom lifted a sacrifice fly. Meissler and a one-hop throw from leftfielder Derryck
Cromwell arrived just about simultaneously. Burstein could not hold the ball as his glove popped off and O'Hara got
nowhere when he contended that Meissler should have been called out for not sliding (per National Federation rules).
The Lancers scored a free run in the sixth. With one out and the bases loaded, Meissler hammered a ground ball
to Roque. Dugan, having been told by Cullman not to risk further injury, was only trotting home and would have
been an easy out, but Roque fired the ball wide-left to the screen. Campbell, running through a stop sign, also tried
to score, but was thrown out Burstein to Nicgorski. Tony Schimony grounded out to end the inning.
Soon, it would be time for Mayer to almost melt in embarrassment.
"I took my eye off the throw for a second," he said. "I started to celebrate too soon."
At least he got a second chance.