Photos courtesy, Jessie Otten, Nicky Friedrichsen, Kim Cole
With the end of the school year comes the end of a coaching career that will forever be known as the original EP Co-op head coaching position; Tod McCullough-Panther Wrestling.
McCullough taught for both the PLT and Erie School Districts for a combined 30 years and coached several sports in addition to his 26 years as head wrestling coach. He is the only head coach the EP Panther wrestling co-op has had since its inception in 1997.
McCullough recently sat down in the “Mac Wing” at Erie High School for a look back at his career as a coach and educator.
He built an impressive resume during his career which includes:
- 417 Career Dual Meet Wins, (2 sub .500 seasons)
- 28 IHSA State Final Boy Qualifiers
- 3 IHSA State Final Girl Qualifiers
- 16 IHSA State Final Medalists, including 2 State Runners-Up
- Over 180 All-Conference Wrestlers
- TRAC Coach of the Year 6 times
- IWCOA Class A Coach of the Year
- 3 Class A Regional Titles
- 2 Teams to IHSA State Dual Finals (Elite Eight)
- 8 TRAC Conference Titles
He began his coaching and teaching career in Tampico teaching Industrial Arts and coaching Junior High Volleyball in 1993.
Along with Coach McCullough, PLT Athletic Director Derick Cox, who is also the new Panther Wrestling head coach, also gave his thoughts on the retiring coach. Cox was a member of the first EP Co-op team in 1997 and after graduation “Mac” asked Cox to help with the middle school wrestling program. Cox eventually became the head wrestling coach at Rock Falls High School for nine years before retuning to PLT.
Nicky Friedrichsen has had multiple children wrestle for McCullough and served for many years as the wrestling representative on the Erie and EP Athletic Boosters. She also took time to share her thoughts on “Mac”.