From “Girls tennis: Leonia’s Tim Cullen records 500th win” at North Jersey dot com:
The late Bob Cullen coached football at Cornell for 41 year and passed the coaching gene on to his sons Tim, Terry and Tony, all of whom coached various sports.
As Tim Cullen said, “If it bounced, we coached it.”
Over the past 55 years, Tim Cullen has coached football, lacrosse, ice hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball and wrestling. He even laughed about his two-week stint as a cheerleading coach.
But back in 1989, Leonia needed a girls tennis coach. Cullen had no experience with the sport but was teaching most of the Lady Lion players in his AP history class at the time and happily accepted the gig.
Thirty years later, Cullen is still at it. He recorded his 500th career victory last week when Leonia beat Harrison, 5-0.
On Sept. 9, the Lady Lions got singles victories from Reanna Radu, Maya Naik and Lily Futern and doubles wins from the pairs of Esther Gim/Hanna Futeran and Anika Hong/Morgan Suh.
“When I started out, the other coaches in Bergen County helped me learn the sport … they were all great,” Cullen said. “I took their ideas and worked with them. I wanted to craft a program … something our kids could be proud of.”
Over the past three decades, Cullen has done just that. The Leonia girls have piled up 13 league, 12 state sectional, three county and one state group championship. More importantly, Cullen has molded hundreds of players into better people.
“I was tickled pink after Harrison … it was really thrilling,” Cullen said. “I went home, had a bottle of wine and tried to figure out how many people I needed to thank.”
Between his 300-plus players, administrators, rival coaches, assistant coaches, parents, nurses, trainers, custodians and so on, Cullen came up with roughly 1,100.
“I was thinking, ‘How do you thank 1,100 people properly?’ Cullen said. “So I just thanked my wife (Claire) and said, ‘Hopefully everyone else understands’.”