Classmates at a prep school known for high academic standards with a rich athletic heritage, McCallie seniors Brian Viscomi and A.J. McMullen will continue their football careers at two of most prestigious NCAA D-III universities in the nation.
McMullen is headed up to the Cumberland Plateau to attend Sewanee: The University of the South, while Viscomi will travel to St. Louis and attend Washington University on a merit scholarship.
Viscomi and McMullen were two of 13 McCallie student-athletes who formally committed to various colleges on Thursday.
Ironically, Washington U., also known as WashU., and Chicago University have joined the Southern Athletic Conference for the 2015-16 school year so the McCallie seniors will meet each other on the gridiron in four years.
The SAA was formed a year ago as an eight-school conference spanning six states; Sewanee and Rhodes College (Tenn.) Centre College (Ky.), Hendrix College (Ark.), Millsaps (Miss.), Oglethorpe University and Berry College (Ga.) and Birmingham-Southern College (Ala.).
Former Conference Members: This is the second time in which WashU, and Sewanee have been conference rivals as they were charter members of the old Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1963.
“I visited a couple of strong academic D-III schools up East, but I think Washington University is the best fit for me,” said Viscomi who also plays baseball for McCallie. “I look forward to continuing my football career there and getting an excellent education.”
Both seniors are earmarked for the defensive side of the ball – McMulllen at linebacker and Viscomi in the secondary – by their future college coaches and Oct. 17, 2015 (their senior year) will be a Homecoming of sorts for the Blue Tornado duo as the Sewanee-WashU. game is scheduled for Harris Field at Sewanee; the oldest football field in the South.
Sewanee assistant coach Josh Taylor made me feel at home when I visited the campus and I look forward to my four years on the mountain,” stated McMullen who plans to play linebacker for the Tigers.
“AJ is a great character kid and we here at Sewanee are excited he will be with us in the fall,” said Taylor. “A.J. should contribute for us as a freshman.”
McMullen’s decision to attend Sewanee was helped along by McCallie assistant coach Adam Caine (who coached at Sewanee before McCallie) who was a coach at Samford when Taylor played there nine years ago.
“A.J. is real strong and physical and likes contact and he should do well in Sewanee’s system,” Caine said. “Having been a student at McCallie and understanding what is expected in the classroom will help A.J. a great deal at Sewanee.”
WashU. and Sewanee were football rivals over a 30-year span - Sewanee leads the series 14-9 - with the last meeting coming in 1977 with the Bears winning.
“We are extremely excited to have Brian Viscomi as a member of the Washington University Football family,” said Washington University head football coach Larry Kindbom.
“Brian is extremely talented on the field; he runs well, he hits, and he has a nose for the football. We like his athleticism and he has a motor on the field that doesn’t quit.
“Moreover, he was selected to one of the most selective schools in the country. We had close to 30,000 applications for the 1,600 spots open in our freshman class, and Brian is one of them. He is a champion on the field and in the classroom.”
Sewanee, WashU. and Chicago all have rich football histories as Sewanee and Chicago were charter members of the Southeastern Conference and Big 10 Conference, respectively.
* Sewanee – Sewanee football is known for its famous 1899 “Iron Men” team which was 12-0, crowned Southern Champions and beat five teams in six days – Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Tulane and Ole Miss – all on the road and all by shutout.
A trio of Tigers are in the college football hall of fame; Diddy Seibels, Henry Phillips and Frank Juhan.
* Washington U. – The Bears first played football in 1890 and are represented in the pro, college and national football halls of fame. Weeb Ewbank, a member of the pro football hall of fame in Canton, Ohio, coached the New York Jets to a win in Super Bowl III in 1969 and also coached WashU. for two seasons; 1947-48.
* Chicago U. – charter member of the Big 10 in 1896, the Maroons and their hall of fame coach Amos Alonzo Stagg won a national football title in 1905 (10-0, beating four-time defending national champion Michigan, 2-0) … Stagg coached the Maroons for 41 years (1892-1932) … In 1935, halfback Jay Berwanger was the first recipient of the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, later to be known as the Heisman Trophy.
Washington U. and Chicago play for the Founders Cup each fall since 1987.
Woody Hayes Disciple: Coach Kindbom was a graduate student at Ohio State in the mid 1970s and stopped by coach Hayes office to see if he could help the program in some way; maybe hand out towels or run errands for the coaches.
“I had no intention of becoming a coach at that time, but we hit it off right away and the next thing I knew he was introducing me as his new wide receivers coach,” said Kindbom with a laugh who coached under Hayes for two years, 1977-78.
“If you knew coach Hayes and his style of football (four yards and a cloud of dust), the wide receivers, though talented as they might have been, were very helpful to the coaches on the blocking sleds at practice and not running many pass routes.”
“Coach Hayes was a great man and a great history buff. He told many stories about generals in battle and how military battles tied to football; on protecting your flanks and keeping the enemy (your opponent) guessing where the ball was and how you were going to attack them.”
McCallie-Baylor Soccer -
McCallie seniors who will play college soccer - Arturo Rocha at Lee University and Seth Phillips at Emory and Henry - will lead the Blue Tornado against Baylor in a D-II soccer match tonight (Friday) at McCallie at 6:15 p.m.
McCallie is 12-2 overall and 6-0-0 in the D-II Middle/East Region and has won 10 straight matches. Baylor is 6-2-4 overall and 2-0-1 in region play.
Rocha has 54 career goals and 32 assists and has made all-state honors three times.
Phillips is a starting defender and plans to study pre-physical therapy at E&H and has been awarded the president and pre-health scholarship from E&H.
The Emory and Henry soccer team will play inn Europe next spring against age-level European teams, attend clinics and view some premier socccer league matches.
McCallie Athletes - Commitment To Colleges
Nick Cousar- Wesleyan
Ellis Harr- Jacksonville
Drew Hettenbach- US Naval Academy
Alex Sanford- Hobart
Fletcher Sims- Columbia
August Wherry- Hobart
JT Wu- Princeton
AJ McMullen- Sewanee
Brian Viscomi- Washington University
Bass Barfield- Jacksonville
Arturo Rocha- Lee University
Seth Phillips – Emory and Henry
Alex Ward- UTC
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com