McCullough excited to work for Wilson again

Deland McCullough knows very well how demanding Kevin Wilson can be.

Indiana’s new football coach was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Miami (Ohio) when McCullough was the star running back there. He saw that Wilson didn’t take any excuses from anybody. Certainly not his linemen, and not anyone else in the offense either.

“Coach Wilson is all about results,” McCullough said. “He’s all about working hard to get those results. He’s about the details, making sure the guys get the maximum effort. That’s some of the things that made me into the player that I was.”

So that made it an easy decision for McCullough to decide to coach for him. On Wednesday, McCullough was named Indiana’s running backs coach after one year as an intern with the offense and special teams at his alma mater. He had been promoted to running backs coach at Miami under new coach Don Treadwell for the 2011 season, but instead decided to join Wilson’s staff.

“It was just about the opportunity at IU,” McCullough said. “It’s a great institution and it’s definitely a program on the rise.”

McCullough’s coaching star is also rising quickly. His playing career was lengthy, but Miami is his only coaching stop to date.

McCullough was a three-time All-Mid-American conference running back at Miami from 1992-95, earning first-team honors twice and second-team once.

While he was there, he rushed for 4,368 yards, which at the time set the all-time record at Miami and in the MAC.
McCullough followed up his career with Miami by playing professionally from 1996-2000 with stints with the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL and the Chicago Enforcers of the short-lived XFL.

McCullough suffered a slew of knee injuries during his professional career, however, after he learned after his final CFL season that he’d played the last nine games with a torn ACL. He had another surgery on it, but decided it was time to go. “The point was made at that point,” he said.

After football, he initially got into school administration. Until its close in 2008, he worked as the executive director at Harmony Community School, a charter school in Cincinnati. After that, he worked as a principal at King Academy, another charter school in Cincinnati. .

He enjoyed academic administration — “I like building up a guy outside of the sports arena,” he said, — but he always considered coaching. He said Wilson visited his school while Wilson was an assistant at Oklahoma and told him he should consider the profession.

“I told him I wanted to put myself in the right circumstances, but I was looking,” McCullough said. “The right opportunity finally presented itself at my alma mater.”

Now the opportunity to be a full-time assistant presents itself, and McCullough said he will handle it by remembering some of the things he learned under Wilson as a player.

“I know what he expects,” McCullough said. “He wants his backs to come out and be tough, be physical, execute what they need to do and be productive. Those are the things he hammered when I played for Coach Wilson. Those are the things I’m going to demand from the backs here.”


  1. He played nine games with a torn ACL?

    Well…can’t question his toughness and dedication. Jeez.

  2. I’d love to see a poll, “Which happens first…IU in the Final Four or IU in a BCS game.”

  3. Finally, Wilson’s coaching staff is complete. Ironically, IU hired a coach away from a “less powerful” college football program that had recently signed a contract. I guess what goes around comes around and this explains why Wilson did not complain about the four previous assistants leaving IU for what they perceived were better opportunities.

    I like that McCullough played in the NFL and CFL. I like that he played for Wilson in college. I like that McCullough was an educator and school administrator before becoming a football coach. I like that he was vetted and hired by Miami of Ohio before IU got him (no skeletons in the closet). And I like what he said about toughness and results. It looks like Wilson made another great hire. Now let’s hope these new IU coaches can recruit the talent necessary to compete in the Big Ten.

  4. I am much more jacked about the IU football team going into next season than I was about the basketball team at any time this season, and especially now. The IU basketball team has become an irrelevancy.

    Even if the talent level was down, coaching should have gotten better performances and results by the end of three years that what they got. I think this year’s team, while better than last, underachieved and lost four games they should have won. This team should have been going to the NIT. At the end of three years, IU is still at the very bottom of the Big Ten. That’s just wrong…

    The football coach seems like a no-nonsense guy. Hopefully the missteps of the first few weeks are history and now he can get going on the spring practice shakedown cruise that is a prelude to a much tougher and more competitive team, physically and mentally, than IU has had for several years now.

    Side note: when players slap women around, they’re usually gone because of the red flag it raises. Don’t know the whole story re Darius Willis but a protective order usually means there is fire where there is smoke. hope not.

    At any rate, I think the football team will come out much more smash-mouth than in the recent past and surprise some people with how competitive they are and win a few more games than IU fans are used to. hope so.

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