SWHS student recruited to play football at Marist College

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Feb. 17, 2011
South Windsor High School senior Paul Sullivan recently signed to play football at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Photo by Martha Marteney.
South Windsor High School senior Paul Sullivan recently signed to play football at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Photo by Martha Marteney.

South Windsor High School senior Paul Sullivan will be continuing his football career in the fall at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Marist joined the Pioneer Football League in the 2009 season, and competes in NCAA Division I. “It’s a very competitive league in New York,” said SWHS football coach Michael Bullock.

Sullivan has been playing football since he was 5. In eighth grade, he exceeded the weight limits to play in South Windsor, so he played in West Hartford. As he became more comfortable on the field, he knew he wanted to play football after high school. “I’d always thought of myself as an average player,” said Sullivan, “but it was like falling in love. It hit me hard.”

“I’m glad for Paul,” said Bullock. “Since his sophomore year, he’s been a stable part of the football team.” Sullivan was captain of the varsity football team, and plays both offensive and defensive positions.

“It was a big deal to be signed to a Division I football program,” said Paul’s father, Dennis Sullivan. “He worked real hard for it.”

Many of the college football teams seen on TV are Division I teams. The University of Connecticut, for example, is a I-A team. Marist is I-AA, meaning that the student population is smaller, but it still has very competitive athletic programs.

Bullock counsels all of his student athletes to consider four things when selecting a college. Academics come first, followed by finding the right school atmosphere. Affordability is the third criteria. Lastly, the coach asked, “Is it a place you would want to play football?”
Sullivan is also a member of the SWHS wrestling team, and is currently seeded number one in the 285-pound weight class. “I do also owe credit to wrestling,” said Sullivan. He explained that he took the “go to work and get it down” attitude instilled in the wrestlers and took that over to football. “Not a lot of people know about wrestling, but it’s an awesome sport.”

According to Bullock, there are a few other seniors still reviewing their college selections, regarding football programs. For Sullivan, the academic and athletic programs, as well as the financial offerings, seemed to make Marist a good fit.

“I liked every school that recruited me,” said Sullivan. An honor student for his four years at SWHS, Sullivan plans to study pre-law. For him, the decision to attend Marist came down to his coach’s four considerations - the first one being academics. In terms of the atmosphere, Sullivan said he felt at home on the beautiful campus. It also did not hurt that Marist offered to most in terms of the financial aid package. In the end, though, it came down to his coach’s last criteria for selecting a college. “Football’s my passion,” said Sullivan.


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