By TJ Millman
Matt Byrum, a 2001 MHS graduate, will be going into the Milford Football Hall of Fame this year as number 3 on the school’s all-time tackles list (259). Byrum played inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end, and tight end over his three year varsity career. He was honorable mention all-conference his sophomore year, second team all-conference his junior year, and first team all-conference plus third team all-state his senior year.
For Byrum, playing football was all about his love for the game. He grew up as an avid fan of the game, and watching his favorite team play, the Miami Dolphins, encouraged him to play football as well. He played one year of Pop Warner when he was 11, but his real football career started when he reached high school, a fact that makes his 259 career tackles even more impressive. By his senior year, Byrum was Team and Defensive MVP, and he remembers his football years fondly.
“I don’t have one special moment that I remember specifically. I think of it all as one big memory that I really loved. I got to play in the Blue/Gold game, built bonds with my teammates, and just got to go out there and have fun. I also appreciate all of the coaches that I had out there. Coach Hilligoss was fantastic, and Coach Darling was instrumental in our conditioning. There were more, but those two I remember distinctly,” Byrum said.
Today, Byrum keeps busy working his job as a Mobile Unit Manager for Grotto Pizza. He is in charge of Grotto Pizza operations at places such as the Delaware State Fair, Firefly Music Festival, and when the NASCAR races come to Dover. When he is not working off-site, Byrum is a manager at the restaurant as well as in charge of training new employees on making the pizza.
Byrum has two daughters, Sophia and Cora, and he spends a majority of his time outside of work with them. Given how sports shaped his life growing up, it will not be a stretch to imagine his girls will be involved in athletics as well.
“Outside of the fact that I just loved to play, sports taught me discipline and kept me in shape. I played football, baseball, basketball, and golf growing up. Besides the life lessons you can learn, sports get you outside and keep you active. It’s a much better alternative to sitting around the house and doing nothing,” Byrum said.
Matt Byrum is a worthy member of the Hall of Fame by his stats alone, 259 tackles over only three years of varsity football, but also because he demonstrated the ability to grow as a player. He listened to his coaches and was able to climb from an honorable mention all-conference player to an all-state player by his senior year, and he did it all while managing to play on both sides of the ball. Matt Byrum earned his spot on the wall through his toughness, his love for the game, and most importantly, his willingness to learn.