By: Jennifer Hoffman
Generous. Caring. Kind. Selfless.
These were just some of the words used by many to describe Pat Cullinan.
Pat Cullinan was more than just a teammate, coach, mentor and father. The impact he had on those he crossed paths with has had a ripple effect on Chester County.
His influence is still felt today.
If you ask a local lacrosse player why they got into the sport, 9 times out of 10 they would say because of Pat Cullinan.
Pat taught more than lacrosse, he taught life.
“Head, Heart, and Hustle” was his motto on the field and off. As a coach he set a high standard, but to his players, he was an unsurpassed guide and example.
Pat stood on the sidelines and coached teams at West Chester, Glen Mills, St. Joe’s and Downingtown East High School just to name a few.
“Pat Cullinan epitomized competitive fire and preparation as a coach. The legends live on from some of Pats pre and in game “speeches” over the years. As a coach he was a great teacher – there was never a situation, wrinkle or adjustment we were not prepared for as a team” said Jack Morrison, Pat’s long time friend and fellow coach at St. Joe’s.
He impacted those around him in more ways than he could imagine, and four years after his passing it’s like he never left.
John Hoffman was only 18 years old when he first met Pat Cullinan. John played club lacrosse at West Chester with Pat and later was coached by him. Cullinan was instrumental in John continuing his education at West Chester and getting him into playing lacrosse.
“He is probably one of the most genuine guys I’ve ever met, so caring as far as he really cared about people and the game of lacrosse” said Hoffman “Pat was always present when he talked to you, Pat was always there for you.”
Katie Morrison has also had a long standing relationship with Pat and the Cullinan family. Katie crossed paths with Pat during her senior year at West Chester where she was the student athletic trainer for the lacrosse team. Katie worked very closely with Pat and spent countless hours with the team, traveling and taking care of injuries.
“He was one of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, he was a dream to work with” remarked Katie Morrison.
One of her fondest memories of Pat was at the end of the lacrosse season, the team presented her with a $100 Abercrombie & Fitch gift card for all of her hard work during the season. The team did it because of Pat, recalled Katie.
“He always made me feel special, there was something about it. Not only do I miss Pat but I miss the way he made me feel as a person, it’s hard but he just had a way about him. Very quiet, soft spoken, when he said something it really meant a lot” said Katie.
Katie ended up marrying Pat’s assistant coach, Jack Morrison. But just because their time at WCU was over, didn’t mean their friendship with the Cullinan’s would be. The Morrison’s attended each of Pat’s daughters weddings and Katie sang the National Anthem at every St. Joe’s lacrosse home game.
The two couples would go out often after St. Joe’s lacrosse games and in true Pat fashion, he would run home. He had to work on those calves somehow. John Hoffman stated, “He had the biggest calves I’ve ever seen. That’s how people knew of Pat, big calves.”
Jack Morrison stood on the sidelines next to Pat, helping him make play calls and being his right hand man. The two quickly became close friends and Pat had a lasting impact on Jack. “Pat’s coaching impact pales in comparison to Pat as a person off the field” Jack said.
“The way he treated people, his dedication to his family, his willingness to give of himself and his time and his signature patience are the lessons I often carry with me most.” recalled Jack.
Pat touched the lives of everyone and left an impact on them like no other. Pat made you want to do better in all that you do and be a better person. The lesson’s Pat taught will never be forgotten as those closest to him continue to carry them on.
“I am certainly a better teacher and coach on the field as a result of working with Coach Cullinan over the years. However, I feel that I am a better person and father for the lessons I learned from Coach C off the field while watching him interact with people in the community and his own family. Pat was a true mentor and leader who will always serve as an example for all of the players, teammates and coaches who spent time with him over the years.”
We cordially invite you to participate in the 3rd Annual Ripple 5k Run. This event will raise money to support the Headstrong Foundation-whose mission is to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families through providing essential services, and was also a cause near and dear to Pat’s heart. To learn more about HEADstrong and the Ripple Run please visit here.