Always Thinking of Others
Michael McCullough, the love of my life and my best friend passed away Monday Sept. 15th from a massive heart attack, leaving a big whole in my heart as well as the community. A lover of all things football, it’s only fitting the last thing he did before coming home that Monday was coach.
Michael was one of the founding members of the Rowan County Youth Football League (YFL) in Salisbury, NC. Proud of that accomplishment, he spent almost thirty years of his forty year career coaching boys and a few girls in that league, overseeing the West Rowan area in which we lived.
Although good enough to coach at the high school level, Michael saw the arena of the younger players as his calling, not only teaching young men about football, but also about life. His lessons instilled morals and values, encouraging hard work both off and on the field.
Although a “softie” at heart, he could be a disciplinarian when necessary, using the philosophy of tough love at home with our daughters growing up, as well as on the field with his players. If school work was incomplete, they often found themselves sitting out a game on a Saturday afternoon.
Pat Phifer, a past player who later coached with Michael summed up the sentiment best when he said, “The community has lost one of the most dedicated individuals that has ever spent time with our youth. Mike gave infinite amounts of his time to the kids and the game he loved. I was fortunate to help him coach a group of young men that later won three NC State Championships playing for West Rowan High School.
Mike always did things right like making sure everyone on his teams had good grades. He made that a priority. We as a community will surely miss him. He put his family first and for them there will always be a void. I hope and pray they can stand proud knowing their father and husband was such an asset to and caretaker of the kids’ lives he touched.
I have tears in my eyes while writing this and fond memories in my heart of a man for which I have so much respect. He gave his life tirelessly to help our youth when he had no children involved in the game. Mike rest in peace. Your family of hundreds of children and people you touched will miss you deeply.
Michael would be honored to know the West Rowan YFL teams, West Rowan Middle School and West Rowan High School are recognizing him in different ways this season. The West Rowan YFL teams are wearing stickers with his name on their helmets, while West Rowan Middle School is dedicating the season to him. West Rowan High presented the family with a game ball at the memorial service and ran several posts on the West Rowan Athletic Boosters Facebook page, with many adding personal comments.
Although Michael never looked for the praise of men, he would humbly enjoy this moment. Words cannot express how much the love and support of the community has meant to our family. Please feel free to leave comments below, Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to all and God bless.
Kristin Saine (daughter)
Kelly Key (daughter)