By Liam Day
The 2018-19 school year was a huge year for Glenelg sports, making it to the state championship in four different sports. The first of which was Glenelg football’s dominant playoff run to states led by Wande Owens and coached by Butch Schaffer. Following the loss, Schaffer stepped down as head coach leaving the job to Assistant Coach, Tim Cullen. Coach Schaffer’s long time success at Glenelg leaves Cullen with big shoes to fill.
Coach Cullen opened up Glenelg's season coaching them to two gut wrenching wins versus the rivaled Marriotts Ridge, and Delaware’s 4A powerhouse, Smyrna. The Gladiators stacked schedule for the 2019 season following a state championship appearance leaves the long time assistant coach with a lot of work, as well as a lot of pressure ahead of him. Cullen said going into game one, “Oh yeah there was a lot of pressure. I could barely sleep the night before the game after going over film all day, and running every play through my head.” As a long time Assistant Coach, the change in workload has been significant after going from an offensive line specialist, to the offensive and defensive play caller. Cullen was asked how he's handled this change and responded that “It's a lot different. No one really understands just how much us coaches at Glenelg put into preparing off the field. As a head coach now I’ve got to look at everything and come up with new plays every week to keep teams guessing.” Coach Cullen has handled the challenge with open arms and is up to the opportunity as well as the challenge.
The biggest question the students have at Glenelg is how the change in Head Coaching will change the game plan of Glenelg Football. After making a success of the ground and pound game for so long, the performance in the state championship left people in question, will this strategy work again with the all-time great Wande Owens gone? Coach Cullen admitted “The plan is to not be completely one dimensional, but to stick to Glenelg Football. I think we've still got a lot of depth and talent this year where we can throw the ball and make big plays out of it.” The Gladiators have made it their signature to run the football until the defense is begging them to stop.
The 2019 season is proving itself to be a show with the new look Gladiators thus far. While the team's goals still remain “Same as every year. Win a State Championship.”