5 Sports Sit Down: Coach Matt McCullough

McCullough breaks down special teams coaching & more
Published: Jul. 9, 2022 at 6:40 PM EDT
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - Coach Matt McCullough joins this week’s sit down to break down all things special teams: coaching, how it has evolved over the last decade plus in the state, and the upcoming West Virginia Specialist Combine.

“I do all things special teams, whether it be kicking, punting long snapping, I got some other coaches that I work with, especially in the are of long snapping, basically tis something that when I moved to the area over 10 years ago, it started out as one of two kids where or there and its just grown every year, word of mouth and it’s such a niche market as far as being able to coach and teach kicking and punting that not a lot of coaches really understand it and know how to coach it,” said McCullough.

McCullough saw the need for special teams coaching in the state, and ran with it, “A couple of years ago I decided to start marketing it, because obviously I felt it was service I thought people where looking for and it kind of exploded from there and really the goal is just to help west Virginia but rally regionally kids who are trying to learn how to kick and punt for their high school team and then those kids that are talented enough to go on and take it to the next level.”

Currently, McCullough has dozens of athletes he’s coached that will suit up in college jerseys this fall.

Since coaching in this area, McCullough has seen special teams grow immensely at the high school level, “When I was kicking in high school, 97 through 99, I was fortunate enough to be all-state, but there was only a handful of kids even in the state and fast forward 20 some years later, we’re up to, every school has a kid now and I’ve just seen the talent has just grown. It’s a trend that I think high school coaches have seemed to value, having a good kicker, punter, long snapper and you know a lot of times what happens is when a school has as successful one, then you have younger children or younger kids that want to follow in the footsteps of those athletes.”

Coaching K/P/LS/Holding in West Virginia is a way to give the kids the same level of opportunities that can be found in other states,

“I enjoy seeing the improvement in the kicking game overall in the state of west Virginia, that’s been something that was kind of the vision I had when I started coaching, kicking’s very good in the south you know, growing up I always heard about kickers in Florida, and Texas, and so West Virginia, I wanted to be able to give those kids, give the kids here the same opportunities,” said the former WVU kicker.

McCullough lets us in on one of his success stories, “I have had one kid reach the highest level of football, the NFL, I didn’t train him in a one-one-one setting but when I was in college I was going and working a camp in North Carolina and I would work with this kid every summer he was always in my group by the name of Ryan Succop, he went on to play for, be an All-American last the University of South Carolina and he was the last pick of the 2009 NFL Draft and a couple years ago I got to watch him. kick a couple of field goals including a 50-yarder int eh Super Bowl. Granted, he had many of coaches, I was just one of, I was just a thumbprint on his development, but getting him when he was a younger, when he was a freshman, sophomore, junior in high school and seeing the talent that he had then, and i remember having a conversation with him, hey buddy the sky’s the limit for you.”

With the West Virginia Specialist coming up on July 30th, McCullough breaks down what can be expected, and the benefits of these type of events, “The goal of the combine is to get any kicker, punter, long snapper in the state of west Virginia an opportunity to come here at this field and compete. What I like about is, it gives, on that day, every kicker, punter in West Virginia, long snapper has the opportunity to get about the same number of kicks to compete equally, during a season, kids, some kids at some schools may get a lot of field goals opportunities, whereas, a kid that maybe plays for a team that’s not as successful doesn’t get as many opportunities, so sometimes you can have a kid that’s very talented abut maybe they just don’t have the chance to showcase their skill as much during the season for the scheme they run or whatever a their school so it really allows equal opportunity for kids to shine.”

You can register for the WV Specialist Combine here: https://app.upperhand.io/customers/1431-coach-mac-special-teams-llc/events/66968-wv-specialist-combine

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