Performing with Passion, Power and Precision
by Cate Murway
According to track & field coach James William [Jim] Jones, Jr., BHS ’59, who is continually impacting his athletes’ lives, “Paul is a hard, dedicated worker and always does everything to be part of the team; puts his heart and soul in it. He wants to be a perfectionist and is always fun to be around. A whole team of “Pauly” Culluras would be great!”
“Mr. Jones let me run with his Varsity team!”
Coach Jones literally taught Paul how to run. He had the opportunity to practice with Golden Team athletes, sprinter Airman Steven P. Johnson, BHS ’06 who just graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX and thrower athlete, David Cuevas, BHS ’08.
Paul Michael Cullura, BHS ’10 is persistently working to achieve and possess the skills, mindset and strategy of an athletic specialist. This young man of determination has intensified his training and his confidence is equaled only by his strength. Paul prefers running at full steam, well perhaps, maybe beyond full steam! His attitude is strong and he exudes the potential to inspire. The mind-set breeze blows fresh up here!
Paul (3-23-92) shares his birthday with Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CBE [Commander of the Bristish empire] (birth date is 3-23-29), an English neurologist and former athlete best known as the first man to run the mile in less than 4 minutes on May 6, 1954.
“I love you guys with all my heart.”
Paul has sincerely expressed that without his family’s support, he’d be nothing.
The Cullura family has resided in their newly constructed home on Locust Street for over a year now. “There’s a warm feeling in Bristol. We know everybody!”
Paul’s dental assistant mom Christine Camila [Wojdylo], Maple Point ’78 was born in France. His maternal grandparents, the Polish born Stanley, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division in the Polish Army and Catherine, who was originally from France met at a dance when Stanley was stationed there.
Langhorne resident Christine, the middle child of two brothers, was a track athlete in school and she is currently the BHS XC assistant coach and photographer. His lifelong Bristolian dad, baseball athlete Paul Cullura, Jr. BHS ’77, Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, is a 5th grade special education teaching assistant at Snyder-Girotti Elementary School. Paul’s dad grew up on Wood & Penn Streets with his parents, Marine Corporal Paul and Maria [Garofalo] Cullura, Sr.
Paul's late paternal great-grandparents Frank and Verna Cullura migrated from Sicily. They ran the family “Cullura Brothers Grocery Store” until the early ‘70’s on Pond and Dorrance Streets, the current location of the “Take Five Video” store.
His parents met where they worked, in the Delaware Valley Hospital. His mom was an EKG tech, performing diagnostic tests to access the heart rhythm and rate, and his dad “kept things cooking” with “heart warming” dishes.
His sister, XC/basketball/track athlete Nicole Michele, BHS ’12, recently earned XC 2nd team BAL status.
Paul “tuned the strings” before he played first-string.
He liked the American Rock band “Guns N’ Roses” and the heavy metal “Metallica”, so he took up the guitar for a few years.
His music teacher, Vince “showed up faithfully every week” and taught him how to read music and he made his own song!
When he was about 12, he had an occasion to play his song on his Fender electric guitar in the summer talent show hosted at the Grundy Recreation Center.
He unhappily recalls meriting 2nd place to two girls dancing to a “Britney Spears” song.
Since then, he has ventured into diverse sport arenas. He earned a blue belt with a black stripe and 2 gold stars in Karate and a yellow belt in Jiu Jitsu, the "gentle/yielding/compliant art" of the Japanese martial arts.
He attests that the discipline “makes you a better person”.
Paul trained intensely as part of the SWAT [Special Winning Attitude Team] under the guidance of World Karate Hall of Fame Master Thomas [Tommy] McGonigle who helped him develop tremendous work ethics.
“He matured me at a young age. Not just karate, but life lessons.”
Paul tried the fast paced and physical sport of ice hockey and suffered through a short lived negative ice skating experience. He played the pivotal position of lone defender, the goalie in CYO soccer.
The BHS red and grey Warriors’ 5’10” #50 football athlete manning the trenches was well prepared to step onto the field, battling for every inch he can take from the opposition. Just the stats! The BHS team finished its season 6-6-0, a .500 record. They had 12 consecutive winning seasons.
American football is a unique sport - it is a game about gaining territory as much as it is about scoring points. Football is a game of inches played on a field measured in yards.
Paul is a long snapper. “It’s all about the snap!”
The snap must be a quick and continuous movement of the ball by one or both of his hands to the punter, or to the holder for the kick, for punts and points.
Nicole simplified the definition, “It’s the person who throws the ball under their legs!”
His football coach, Levittown resident George James Gatto, Delhaas ‘78/ Millersville ‘82/ Rider U. ’98, Masters in Ed. Admin., has been teaching Industrial Arts and coaching at BHS for 26 years. He and his wife, Janet have 3 non-football athlete daughters, Salina, HST ’07/U of Delaware; Bianca, HST ’09; and Georjenna, HST ’12.
Per Coach Gatto, “Starting center/defensive tackle Paul is one of those players that only comes along once in awhile. He has a passion for football and his education and he has strong parental support. I could talk forever about him. He is a product of his environment.”
With his aspirations always on the grow, Paul untiringly trains at Precision Kickers & Punters, the East coast’s premiere kicking and punting camp. precisionkickersandpunters.com
Holland resident soccer / football athlete David Peter [Dave] Crocker, Pennsbury ‘72/U of Rhode Island, runs the indoor and outdoor clinics.
“Paul is the long snapper for field goals and really good by the way! He is one of the most "coachable" kids. You can tell him things just one time! He’s a bright spot as a kicker, punter or snapper.”
The workouts are taxing. “You can either feel good or be good!”
While Paul was training, he was given the chance to work and learn together with lineman Pat Wilson, Bensalem ‘08/IUP, the MVP of the Bensalem H.S. football team. Paul showed up to watch even when he was injured.
His increased attention to training paid quick dividends.
"The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win." Roger Bannister
Paul has the flexibility, speed and control for powerful release and distance in his throwing techniques. He confided with certainty, “I owe a lot to Pat Mulhern”.
Why is proper weight training technique so important? Weight training, a form of strength training, can improve strength, increase muscle tone, gain muscle mass and improve bone density. Incorrect technique is one of the main factors contributing to injuries.
Patrick Ward Mulhern, BHS ‘83/BCCC, the president of Personal Training Transformations, L.L.C., helped Paul with the right techniques for strength training. He got him off to a great start, instructing him with the kinetically proper way to lift.
“Paul has progressed to a strong young man. As far as a leader, he is always on his own mission, driving toward his goals. I see him with a very, very bright future.”
Paul readily acknowledges the dedicated coaches and trainers who have assisted him.
No student can become a master overnight.
“Major props to Coach Lou Persichetti and Coach Tony Mangiaracina!”
Tony, who was Paul’s dad’s teacher, was the first person to give him a chance to play on the field in junior high school.
Paul also specializes in the discus, working on footwork and explosion in his red and white Nike shoes for his favorite throwing event. He feels privileged to be given training guidance by Dr. Earl Flynn Cubbage, D.M.D., a three-time VA state champion [171’3”].
His dad said, “Paul has always been in good hands.”
Paul is fueled by his favorite foods- the amazing chicken parm at “Cesare’s Italian Specialties Ristorante” [the closest thing to home cooking!] and the authentic Indian clay oven grilled Chicken Masala at Café Bombay.
A 4.0 student, he is giving serious consideration to “tackling” a chemistry major. His “goalposts” include Division III choices. Red, gold & black Grizzlies of Ursinus College is well known for pre-professional preparation for the fields of medicine. The sixth oldest college, navy blue & steel grey Greyhounds of Moravian College, offers a values-based liberal arts education. Their programs have a direct link to the ideas that revolutionized education more than three centuries ago.
A football game may begin with a coin toss but Paul Michael Cullura is taking no chances on his future.
He is an athlete and a scholar on a “touchdown” mission.
To recommend a “Children are our Future” spotlight. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Holding nothing back
By KAREN SANGILLO
BRISTOL — For Paul Cullura, Bristol football is a way of life.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet that I’m a senior
and this is my last year of Bristol football,” he said.
“When it does, I know it’s going to be really hard
because it’s been such a big
part of my life.
“But, obviously, I do realize this is my last year
and I know for sure that I want to give it
my all, every game, every practice.I don’t want to hold anything back.”
Cullura was an All-Bicentennial Athletic League first-team selection as a defensive tackle and a second-teampick as a center last year.
He would like to play football in college and is considering Ursinus, Moravian and
Delaware Valley. He will major in chemistry and hopes to become a dentist.
But right now he wants to make his final season as a Warrior count.
“There’s a big tradition of football at Bristol,” Cullura said. “Each season there’s different sports, but I think this really is a football town. It seems like the whole town
shuts down and everyone is at the game. It’s great to get that kind of support and turnout
from the community; we really feel like our town is behind us.
“At Bristol we have a strong sense of pride in all our athletics; we’re scrappy and we play
hard. That’s how this team is; we play hard-nosed football.”
Cullura had been a thrower on the Bristol track team but gave it up to concentrate on
“I really wanted to just focus on preparing for football so that I could be the best player
I could be,” he said. “I want to elevate myself to the next level.”
He is optimistic about the upcoming season.
“I think we’re going to be a really good team this year,”
Cullura said. “We’re going to surprise some people. We have a good, strong core coming
back. We have good leadership. We’re already starting to form that midseason bond and that’s huge. We really didn’t have that so much last year but we’re like a family now and it’s great.”
Bristol traditionally ends the season with a Turkey Day matchup against Morrisville.
“We really enjoy the Thanksgiving game but to be honest I’m hoping we don’t
play it this year because that will mean we made the playoffs,” Cullura said. “We really
want to do that this year and I think that’s definitely a possibility for us.
“We have a lot of potential. We’re strong, we’re fast, we’re in shape. We’re going to go out there and do big things this year.”
Bristol coach George Gatto is counting on Cullura to be a big factor this year.
“Paul is the whole package,” Gatto said. “He’s a great student and he has a great character. He’s been a wonderful leader for our team, both on and off the field, and his work ethic is unparalleled. He’s very passionate about what he does and that shows.”
The Warriors’ file
COACH: George Gatto
HEAD COACHING EXPERIENCE: 1988- present
GATTO’S RECORD: 125-98
OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS: 73-36
LAST LEAGUE TITLE: 2007 (Bicentennial
OFFENSIVE STARTERS LOST: 4
DEFENSIVE STARTERS LOST: 6
COACH'S CORNER: The success of Bristol's Paul Callura
By Lou Persichetti
The success story of Bristol High School football player Paul Cullura did not start in August each year at the first practice.
Cullura made up his mind long before that . He learned real early that if he was going to standout as a high school football player , he had to work all year long. He spent many hours in the weight room during the off season once his goals were set.He did not deviate from his plan of attack.
Paul Cullura is another example of a Bristol kid who made good. Through his workouts in the weight room twelve months a year, he took what may have been an ordinary high school career and turned it into an outstanding and rewarding four years .
You see, Cullura already had the extras going for him; good student, family support and knowing right from wrong. His popularity at Bristol High School was reinforeced when he was selected as Homecoming King this year. His commitment to excellence separated him from the others.
Paul Cullura has established himself in the Bristol High School record books not only as a football star but also as a special young man.
The Eagles are on track for another playoff appearance and may even have a Home field game in the first round. The Giants game on Sunday night was Entertaining if you like scoring. I enjoyed the game as well as the announcers. That is unusual when the announcers make the game enjoyable. Al Michaels And Kris Collingsworth seemed to be enjoying the game as much as the fans watching on television.
Longtime Green Bay Packer Fan Joe Mancini from Lincoln Avenue,in Bristol is looking forward To a possible Eagles versus Packers playoff matchup. If Philadelphia wins the division,All things point to the Packers vs Eagles matchup in Philadelphia. If the Eagles are the Wild card, they would play the Cardinals in Arizona. The Packers are playing well and Could give the Eagles problems. They are used to the cold weather so Arizona may be a better opponent.
Temple’s win over Villanova took many by surprise. Earlier in the week, St. Joseph’s gave the 'Cats all they could handle. Perhaps coach Fran Dunphy was watching as St. Joe’s played Villanova very well but the talent difference eventually caught up with them.
Villanova is a little overrated as far as I am concerned. They are good but not in the same league with Syracuse or Conneticut right now.
The 76ers are getting close but cannot get it done . The losing streak continues and at presstimeThey have lost nine straight.
Iverson is a little sluggish but he is still enjoyable to watch. Once he gets going they should Be much more competitive. No playoffs though!
The Phillies are improving little by little but still need that right handed pitcher. Even if they get Halladay they still need a fourth and fifth pitcher. Rumors have them moving Blanton For money reasons. I think Moyer is done so we would have Halladay, Lee, and Hammels,
What do you think of all the leagues kids play in nowadays? They play baseball, softball, Fall ball, AAU , School sports, CYO, Soccer. You name it and there is a league for it.
I am all for a player trying to improve but do you think it is necessary to play twelve months a year? Are the participants trying to get better under false pretenses. If you reach your level of getting as good as you are going to get , is playing fall ball; then hitting all winter going to make you an all star? I do not think so. What happened to when the season was over you went on to the next sport? Last time I looked, noone has made the big leagues from Bristol in a long time. Hopefully all this athletic training is not interfereing with anyone’s school work!
We can debate this forever but as long as kids are enjoying being kids ,than I have no problem.
Paul Cullura Jr.
Posted: Friday, October 19, 2012 4:00 am
Paul Cullura Jr. passed away peacefully and suddenly on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 at his residence. He was 52.
Born and raised in Bristol Borough, he was a graduate of Bristol High School, Class of 1977, and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
Early in his life, he played an active role in his family's catering business, 'Cullura's'. Later, he began his self-employed catering business, 'Riverside Catering'. He also worked as a para-professional in the Bristol School District, and more recently worked at Passantes Brothers for his home food service.
He will be remembered as a loving and caring husband, father, and good friend to all who knew him.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Maria Cullura; his aunt and godmother, Elizabeth DeMasi; and his cousin, Nicholas Cullura.
He will be greatly missed by his devoted children, Paul Michael Cullura and Nicole Michele Cullura, and the mother of his children, Christine (Wojdylo). He is also survived by his aunt, Rita and her husband, Chester Weaverling, and numerous cousins.
Relatives and friends are invited to gather starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe St., Bristol, where his funeral service will begin at 8 p.m. Interment will be held at the convenience of the family.
Mass cards are preferred. Galzerano Funeral Home, Bristol