High school wrestlers now have one of their own as new head coach of the Buffalo Bills in Sean McDermott. While McDermott has been recognized in the NFL for his football smarts and determination, it was on the mat where he learned that hard work pays off.
Sean McDermott played football and wrestled his junior and senior year at LaSalle College High School, just north of Philadelphia. McDermott is still considered that school’s most accomplished wrestler having been a two-time All-Catholic and National Prep School Champion at 171 lbs in 1992 & 93′.
McDermott was an outstanding high school football player as well starting at quarterback, safety, punter, place kicker and he returned most punts and kicks. However, when football season ended McDermott took off the pads and dominated the wrestling mats.
McDermott went undefeated in 75 consecutive matches – a streak that stretched across two high school seasons and was named the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer Wrestler of the Year. McDermott was also selected to the USA High School Wrestling Tournament.
It’s obvious from some of the quotes Sean McDermott has made over the years that wrestling played a big part in making him who he is today. “Wrestling embodies what it takes to achieve in this world,” McDermott has said. “There’s no one else to blame but you and it comes down to preparation. That’s what it’s all about.”
“When I wrestled, I would think about my opponent and if I’m training harder than he is. That’s still true today. You pay your dues, you work hard and you try and do the right thing. There are going to be bumps along the road, but you just have to stay focused on your goals and keep challenging yourself, and good things will happen along the way.”
McDermott once explained how he excelled in both sports, “It was an oddity to go both ways at La Salle, but wrestling is a big help. It helped me be rugged and aggressive, so I can stick it out for all four quarters. The things I get from wrestling carry over into football”
Sean McDermott had a number of college wrestling scholarships, but chose to attend the College of William and Mary as a football walk-on. McDermott made the most of that opportunity becoming team captain and then an assistant coach for one year before joining the Philadelphia Eagles scouting department. Yet, every bio written about McDermott cites his high school wrestling success as an example of his mental toughness.
In Friday’s Buffalo News Terry Pegula gave writer Tim Graham this quote,”You can see from his wrestling background, being a two-time national prep champ, determination, work ethic and just an absolute will that was very impressive that he’s carried through his life.”