If you have a common last name (hand raised), you are familiar with running into others in person, on paper or professionally who share it. Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan has a name, first and last, that is common, and now he’ll have to share it to some degree.
In a move that had been widely reported but just became official Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers have hired a new quarterbacks coach named … Mike Sullivan.
So the Penguins’ man with that moniker is no longer the only Pittsburgh pro coach named that.
“The fact that the Steelers have a Mike Sullivan, that’s obviously a unique circumstance to have two coaches in the same city with the same name, and I wish him well,” the hockey coach said after the Penguins practiced Monday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
The new Steelers assistant is about 13 months older, but considerably grayer, than the Penguins’ head coach. The football guy is from California. The Penguins guy, as is evident with his New England accent, is from Massachusetts.
The Steelers guy will be coaching future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, assuming the QB doesn’t retire. The Penguins guy coaches future Hall of Fame centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Just within the general organized hockey world, it’s almost tough to swing a hockey stick and not hit a Mike Sullivan.
The website hockeydb.com, which offers stats and information on hockey players of all levels, past and present, lists 21 entries for Mike or Michael Sullivan. Only one, though, has the NHL icon next to the name indicating time in the top league, and that’s the Penguins coach.
As with a lot of Mike Sullivans, or any Sullivan, the Penguins coach often goes by “Sully.”
The Penguins version didn’t seem to find anything disconcerting or terribly unusual about hearing of another homonymic double.
“There are a lot of Mike Sullivans in the world. That I can assure you,” the Penguins’ Sullivan said. “It seems like it’s a very common Irish Catholic name. I actually have a cousin with the same name. So that’s something I’ve been used to my whole life.”
For good or for bad, the local hockey coach’s name has never drawn him into a situation where he has been mistaken for someone else of the same name.
“Never had a case of mistaken identity — with the name Mike Sullivan anyway,” he said.