by Scott Kindberg
April 29, 2015
Pirate Turns Trojan
Jehuu Caulcrick, who parlayed an All-American career at Clymer Central School in the early 2000s into a scholarship at Michigan State University and stints with four NFL teams, was approved as Southwestern's new coach at its board of education meeting Tuesday night.
Caulcrick succeeds Jay Sirianni, who announced his resignation last month after compiling a 101-26 record in 12 seasons, which included two state championships.
"Excitement is the first thing that comes to mind," Caulcrick said late Tuesday night. "It's such a great program that has such a great foundation already that Jay started, so obviously it's going to be some pretty big shoes to fill. ... There are high expectations, and that's what I like about the opportunity."
Caulcrick takes over a team that advanced to the Section VI Class C championship game last season before bowing to Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake, 37-7.
"I have to prove myself to these kids now to believe in me," he said. Caulcrick's playing resume is an impressive one.
A SuperPrep All-American as a senior at Clymer, Caulcrick is Western New York's all-time rushing leader with 6,559 yards and holds the WNY mark for career rushing touchdowns (100). A former Post-Journal Player of the Year, he led the Pirates to four consecutive Section 6 Class D championships and four straight appearances in the state final four.
A four-year letterman at Michigan State, Caulcrick rushed for 2,395 yards, which is No. 11 on the school's all-time list. His 39 career rushing touchdowns are No. 2 all-time and his 21 TDs in a season are a Spartans' record.
Signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2008, Caulcrick also was a member of the Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Buffalo practice squads. He was elevated to the Bills' regular roster on Nov. 19, 2010 and ran for a first down in his only NFL carry at Cincinnati. He retired from the NFL in 2011 and was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in February.
After his retirement, he served as an assistant coach at Westfield/Brocton in 2012, a season in which the Wolverines shut out Southwestern, 27-0, snapping the Trojans' 29-game home winning streak.
"That made me realize how big a program Southwestern was," Caulcrick said of that victory three years ago. " ... That's why I put my name in the hat, because (coaching a program like Southwestern) is something I wanted to be associated with."
Southwestern athletic director Kevin Salisbury said Caulcrick impressed the four-person selection committee.
"I knew of him because of his time as a player at Clymer and, obviously, at Michigan State and then the NFL, but that wasn't the deciding factor," Salisbury said. "He was very impressive with his leadership skills and his attitude about what it's like to be a high school coach. He gave us the sense that he was a guy who was going to be able to lead our program going forward."
Caulcrick, who survived a Civil War in Liberia as a child before arriving in Findley Lake in the early 1990s, said his role extends beyond what happens on football weekends in the fall.
"I want to teach them how to persevere through tough times, how to be gentlemen in the community and in the school," he said. "I want these kids to be known as people of character and more than just football players and more than just a number running around the field."
Caulcrick, who has lived in California and in Western New York since his professional football career ended, has worked in the broadcasting field and also does motivational speaking. His first order of business today will be visiting his new team at the high school. After that, it will be assembling a coaching staff.
"We're still in the process," Salisbury said. "We've reached out to what we feel are a couple of quality coaches in the area. We're trying to work out a few details with them and hope to bring them on staff. If not, we'll go through the process to get the best for our kids."
Salisbury is confident the Trojans have the right head coach. After a recent conversation with Caulcrick, apparently Sirianni is, too.
Noted Salisbury: "As Jay left (the office), he said, 'I know (Jehuu) is going to be OK, because he's already 1-0 on our field.'"