North Rockland High School has produced many outstanding scholar-athletes over the years and Dennis O’Sullivan ranks right up there with the best of them. Not many athletes have had the honor to play on, and captain, two undefeated teams on the high school and college level, but Dennis did. He was a multi-sport athlete in high school, excelling in football, track and field, and baseball. In college Dennis channeled all his energy into football and academics, with equally astounding results. His hard work and dedication was rewarded with an NFL contract and five years of professional football.
As a high school freshman football player, Dennis was called up to the varsity level late in the season to be the long snapper on punts and field goals. He was flawless in his execution and was a key member of the team in North Rockland’s Intersec- tional game against Saratoga Springs when he snapped the ball for the winning field goal in 15-degree weather. Dennis played on four league and three sectional championship teams. In his senior year Dennis helped lead the North Rockland football team to a 12-0 record and the first-ever New York State championship. The Raiders beat Jamestown High School in the Carrier Dome in front of 4,000 home fans to finish the year ranked number one in the state, fourth in the East and No. 23 in the nation.
Dennis was All-County and All-Section in his junior and senior years, and the Section 1 Lineman of the Year twice. As a senior he was selected as a first-team All-State lineman and the winner of the Junior Heisman Award. During the spring of his sophomore year, Dennis was a catcher on North Rockland’s state championship baseball team. In his junior and senior years he gave up baseball and went out for the track and field team. He was voted All-County in the shot put his junior year.
Dennis accepted a full football scholarship to Tulane University and went on to have a remarkable gridiron career. As a three- year starter at Tulane, the team got progressively better each year. After finishing 2-9 in his sophomore year, Tulane went 7-4 with a 5-1 Conference USA record to finish in second place in Dennis’s junior year. That was just the start of what would become Tulane’s greatest football season, 1998. Led by team captain Dennis O’Sullivan, Tulane went on to an undefeated season, 13-0, culminating with a Liberty Bowl victory against BYU. Tulane finished the year ranked No. 7 in the country in the NCAA Division I final coaches’ poll. Dennis was named as a second-team All-Conference USA defensive lineman and the Tulane team’s defensive MVP. Not only was he outstanding on the football field but he was named the 1998 Liberty Bowl Scholar-Athlete, and the 1998 Nokia Sugar Bowl QB Club Scholar- Athlete of the Year. Dennis culminated his college career by being selected as Tulane Univer- sity’s Outstanding Male Scholar- Athlete of the 1998-1999 year.
After college Dennis went on to play in the National Football League from 1999 to 2005. He played for the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets as a defensive lineman and then switched over to the other side of the ball and played offensive line for the Jets and the Houston Texans.
When his professional football career ended, Dennis went to work for the New York State Government Affairs Department as the Director for the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. He is now employed as the Vice President for Professional and College Development of the American Athletic Institute. The American Athletic Institute is a sports consulting firm that is committed to helping people both in and out of sports. The institute provides programs and services to people ranging from drug and alcohol abuse, hazing education, sportsmanship in youth sports and childhood obesity. Their primary focus is on the education of athletes on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Dennis is also the president and founder of Two Towns Charities, Inc., an organ- ization based in northern Rockland dedicated to helping underprivileged children.
Dennis currently resides in Stony Point with his wife, Kelly, a guidance counselor, and their children, Tess and Molly. He is very involved in the north Rockland community, serving on the YMCA Golf Tournament and North Rockland Develop- ment committees, which help support youth scholarships and programs in North Rockland.