Love hurts: Mr. Spellman’s hugs show off his friendliness…and legendary strength


Principal Steve Spellman leaves LA Fitness after a morning workout.

It’s a well-known fact throughout the St. Pius X community that Principal Steve Spellman has a grip so strong that it would scare an anaconda. Whether it’s a simple handshake, hug, or friendly slap on the shoulder, Mr. Spellman’s strength is intense, to say the least.

“Whatever ailment or injury students have when they come to me in the clinic, the reason is almost always due to physical contact with Steve,” school nurse Mrs. Donna Owens said.

While Schmitty relies on “Advil and ice” for any injury, Mrs. Owens said that remedy isn’t enough for a “Spellman Snuggle.”

“I’ve treated such a wide range of things,” Mrs. Owens said. “Cracked ribs, passing out due to lack of oxygen, large contusions on arms…you name it, I’ve seen it. It reminds me of the stint I did working with the medical staff for the Atlanta Falcons years ago.”

Mrs. Owens gives victims a strict order to maintain a minimum distance of at least five feet when they see Mr. Spellman in the hallways, but he’s not always visible. Students have learned to always be on their toes; much like a python waiting to strike, Mr. Spellman goes in for a hug at incredible speeds.

“I almost had to put down the football forever my junior year when I was caught in his terrifying arms. I still have nights where I wake up in a cold sweat after dreaming about that Monday morning he surprised me with a bear hug after win in the playoffs,” senior Connor Egan said.

“When I first came to Pius I loved it,” said Wyatt, who asked that his last name not be used, “but then Mr. Spellman came up to give me a hug and my Lion Leader, knowing what would happen if he got to me, stepped in and took the hug for me.”

That brave soldier who sacrificed his life and limbs was senior basketball player Niko Broadway.

“I’m used to it by now,” Broadway said. “I mean Mr. Spellman is great, but with the good comes the bad. I use what I practice on the court to help me dodge him. Bob and weave, bob and weave, baby.”

Many teachers have also fallen victim to the legendary Spellman grip.

“Back when I first started working at Pius I was walking from the lunchroom to my classroom, and while walking through the breezeway Mr. Spellman stopped me to have a small conversation,” Social Studies teacher Mr. Matt Anderson said as he stared off into space, lost in the memory of the traumatic event. “But when he grabbed my arm I felt a pop, and I knew then and there it was completely dislocated by what seemed like a small tug from him.”

Science teacher Mr. Matt Lammers had a similar experience.

“As a biology and anatomy teacher, I can say with a good amount of certainty that my ribs should not have cracked when Mr. Spellman patted me on the back two years ago. He’s at peak human evolution,” Mr. Lammers said.

Even legendary zookeeper Steve Irwin, who passed away in 2006, was familiar with Mr. Spellman. On his Crocodile Hunter website, Irwin told a brief story explaining how he got involved in crocodile wrestling.

“I once witnessed a man pin down three crocs with one arm,” the website states. “It was Steve Spellman, a legend in the world of croc wrestling.”

Even though Mr. Spellman brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “love hurts,” the St. Pius community wouldn’t be the same without him. Less painful, maybe, but not nearly as happy.