Father Ronald Cullen devoted more than 50 years of his life to developing sporting youths in our community. A pillar of the Assumption High School community, he is remembered for his distinctive disciplinary style and the compassion that underlay it.
Fr. Cullen was born in Toronto on October 19, 1915.
In 1948, Fr. Cullen arrived at Assumption High School, where he quickly found great success coaching football, hockey, and baseball.
Fr. Cullen’s hockey teams won 20 WSSA, 5 WOSSA, and 8 SWOSSA titles. Altogether, they made 13 appearances at the OFSAA All-Ontario Championships. Along the way, Fr. Cullen produced the future National Hockey League players Marc Reaume, Mike Eaves, Murray Eaves, and Eddie Mio.
On the gridiron, Fr. Cullen was Line Coach for Assumption’s Senior Football team from 1949 to ’53. In this role, he developed Frank Jackunas and Larry Onesti, who went on to play in the National Football League with Miami and Houston respectively. Fr. Cullen also served as Head Coach of the school’s Junior Football team in 1954 and ’55, winning WSSA and WOSSA titles both years.
As an amateur baseball coach, Fr. Cullen was among the best in Canada. His teams perpetually vied for local, provincial, and national laurels, even competing for international honours on occasion. Fr. Cullen began coaching baseball in 1950 within the Mic Mac League and with Windsor teams that played in the Detroit Federation Leagues. He continued in this capacity until 1970.
In 1971, Fr. Cullen began working with Midget-age ballplayers within the Mic Mac organization. He instilled sound fundamentals in developing players, many of whom would graduate to older age classifications and play instrumental roles in bringing their teams local, provincial, and national championships. Fr. Cullen nurtured several prize protégés over the years, including eventual Major League Baseball players Reno Bertoia, Joe Siddall, Stubby Clapp, and John Upham.
Fr. Cullen passed away on February 8, 2010.