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Deland McCullough Looks to Bring Championship Edge to Indiana Football

Deland McCullough spoke to the media Tuesday about why he chose to come back to Indiana football.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — During Super Bowl week, Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough was asked about his time at Indiana, and he said he was forever indebted to the program for giving him a foundation in his coaching career.

What wasn't known publicly at that time was McCullough was already looking to return to Bloomington after the Chiefs played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Sunday.

Once the Super Bowl ended and the season was over, Indiana head coach Tom Allen officially announced the addition of McCullough to the Hoosiers' coaching staff on Monday.

"I think things go full circle, and I always continued to track IU and been a huge fan from afar," McCullough said Tuesday. "When the opportunity, you know where I was in my career at this point, came where I could marry back up with Indiana is something I jumped at."

McCullough's previous stint with the Hoosiers was from 2011-2016, where he coached the likes of Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard, developing them into NFL talents.

His final season with the Hoosiers was when Allen was the defensive coordinator, and that's when the two formed a relationship.

"Even just watching what he did on the defensive side of the ball, just the culture he created," McCullough said. "I would listen through the walls like, 'Gosh, look what he's doing over there,' and just watching us grow on that side of the ball... Just the relationship I built with him that season was strong."

After leaving Indiana, McCullough went to USC for one season, where the Trojans won the Pac-12 championship and clinched a Cotton Bowl berth. McCullough coached Ronald Jones in his one year with the Trojans, and Jones just won the Super Bowl with the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Then McCullough went to the professional ranks, serving as the running backs coach for one of the most dynamic offenses in the world over the past three seasons with the Chiefs.

He went to three-straight AFC title games with the Chiefs, two Super Bowls and one Super Bowl win in 2020. The Super Bowl replica trophy was shining bright in the background for McCullough's press conference on Tuesday.

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One of the reasons McCullough wanted to go to the NFL was so he could gain that experience and credibility so that when he came back to college, he would be better than he used to be.

That's what Indiana's running back room is going to be gaining — a coach who has had success at all levels and has coached the likes of Kareem Hunt, LeSean McCoy and Le’Veon Bell.

Allen messaged Sampson James, Tim Baldwin Jr. and David Ellis Monday night and told them how fired up he was for them.

"They obviously reciprocated with the same excitement," Allen said. "I told them that 'I cannot wait for you guys to have the opportunity to be coached by him.' I told them 'you're gonna love him, and he's gonna help you get better.' It's just exciting."

After being a part of championship teams the last couple of years, that's exactly what McCullough wants to help bring to Indiana.

He is used to joining programs with high expectations. He joined USC where it was coming off a Rose Bowl appearance and Jones needed to be taken to the next level. He joined the Chiefs when Hunt had previously led the league in rushing the year before, and McCullough was able to make both of those players better.

Now, he's joining Indiana after one of its best seasons in program history, and perhaps the most momentum and expectations the program has had in decades.

"I'm just excited to get in there and work with the guys. I know that we got some highly talented players," McCullough said. "Just excited to get in there and develop those guys. Sometimes all they need is to hear something in a different way or have a different focus to take them to the next level."

"I told Tom this a couple days ago, but I want to bring those things that I've learned and been a part of to IU to help take it to the next level."

  • INDIANA FOOTBALL 2021 SCHEDULE: For Indiana's full 2021 schedule, CLICK HERE
  • CHARLTON WARREN NAMED DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Indiana has hired Charlton Warren to replace Kane Wommack as defensive coordinator. His last three stops have been at SEC schools, most recently Georgia. CLICK HERE
  • ALLEN REFLECTS ON 2020 SEASON: Tom Allen reflected on last season and talked about how the team looks to build on that moving forward. CLICK HERE