By Alexa Dunson, Director of Strategic Communications
Special from UTPB
If you haven’t had a chance to meet UTPB’s new Head Football Coach Kris McCullough yet, let us introduce you. McCullough joined the Falcon Family from East Central University earlier this year. His ideas and passion for his team are arguably brighter than those famous Friday Night Lights. His goals are like any head coach: to create a winning culture and bring some championships home. However, even bigger than that, he hopes to teach the young men in his program the value of giving back to their communities, the importance of winning in the classroom, and how to be future leaders. So, while you’re waiting those four long months until kick-off, take some time to get to know the coach of Falcon football.
1. Tell us a little about yourself, what journey did you take to eventually land at UTPB?
I am from Arkansas. I grew up around athletics playing football, baseball, and basketball, but my first love was baseball. I wanted to be the next Derek Jeter. I didn’t play college ball and actually went to college to be an accounting major. I loved money and math but after 6 months, I missed athletics too much. I started out as a student assistant at Henderson State University. I was there for 2 1/2 years before coaching at Old Dominion University as an offensive quality control coach. Then I moved to Fairmont State to be the running backs coach/assistant special teams coordinator. The past 4 years I spent at East Central University in Oklahoma. I worked my way up from the lowest paid assistant, coaching Quarterbacks in 2018 to being the youngest head coach in the country!
2. To you, what makes UT Permian Basin special?
The people here are what makes UTPB. My wife and I just welcomed our baby boy, KJ, into the world in April. I can truly say that the people in this community and University make it to where we want to be here for years to come.
3. Why should a prospective student-athlete choose UTPB?
I think the decision people make when choosing a university should be all about the fit for them. Every person is different and requires a little bit of something different from the next person. The great thing about UTPB is it is so diverse. The population, the majors, the types of classes, the different avenues and programs to be successful. It has a little bit of everything to attract different people. Choosing UTPB is easy once a student-athlete sees our campus, the town, and most importantly, meet the people.
4. What do you plan to bring to the football program?
Our football program will be built on FAMILLY. Yup, with 2 Ls (Focus, accountability, mentality, inspire, learn, love, yes). We will have a brotherhood that these young men remember for the rest of their lives. We will be champions on and off the field. We will push to have a 3.0 every semester. We will push to have at least 1000 community service hours every semester (we 1,057 hours this past spring semester). We will shape these young men to be great husbands, fathers, and future leaders of the world. And we will definitely win a lot of games!
5. What is your strategy/philosophy when it comes to recruiting football players?
We obviously want the best players we can land. Our first focus is to find the best players within an hour of UTPB. This past signing day, we signed 12 local Permian Basin players! We will then attract the best D2/FCS talent in the DFW and Houston Motorplex’s. We will continue to spot recruit bigger cities in central and west Texas! We will also always plug some transfers into our team for the experience and leadership of older guys! We have the #1 transfer recruiting class in the country for Division 2.
6. How can the community expect to see your team involved in the Permian Basin?
I believe the community is already seeing us! We have volunteered at local elementary schools, different events and fundraisers at the Ector County Coliseum, clean ups around Odessa/Midland, and the West Texas Special Olympics in Midland. This is only the beginning of how we are giving back. You will see us volunteer at food banks, shelters, and churches in the upcoming months.
7. Why should the community come experience a UTPB Football game?
We want you to come out and support these student-athletes who have given so many hours of their lives to giving back to the community. This is a new era of Falcon Football and you can feel the excitement! This community’s hearts lie in the bleachers of a football game. Everyone in the country knows West Texas is football heaven! In the state of Texas, there are so many big universities to cheer for, but I hope to see you supporting the University in your back yard that gives so much back to this great community. Come be a part of our Falcon #FAMILLY and #FALCONSUP