Indiana running backs coach Deland McCullough is expected to be announced as the next running backs coach for Notre Dame, according to reporting from The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman. McCullough was with the Hoosiers from 2011-2016 before spending a year with USC, then the Kansas City Chiefs from 2018-2020. McCullough rejoined Indiana’s staff prior to the 2021 season, bringing along his son Deland McCullough II, a safety who transferred in from Miami (OH). His younger sons, Dasan and Daeh, committed to Indiana out of high school, with Dasan signing a letter of intent and enrolling early this offseason. Dasan is also the highest rated recruit in program history, per 247 Sports. (EDITED TO ADD: Since this story went live, Dasan and Deland II have tweeted that they plan on staying at Indiana).
In his time at Indiana, McCullough coached Hoosier greats Tevin Coleman, Jordan Howard and Devine Redding and was a huge reason that Indiana briefly became a destination for top backs in the Big Ten. Indiana set 19 program rushing records in McCullough’s time in Bloomington. McCullough was listed as an associate head coach on Indiana football’s website, an indication of his importance to this staff.
Following the departure of defensive coordinator Charlton Warren for North Carolina and Kevin Peoples’ decision to leave for Mizzou, this news certainly sets off some alarm bells for the Indiana program. Notre Dame may look like the better job on paper, but McCullough left one of the best offenses in the NFL to come to Indiana, so it’s not like his career was following the traditional coaching promotional arc. Frankly, it looks like coaches are in a bit of a hurry to get out of Bloomington.
Kasey Teegardin and Daren Hiller are the most notable coaches left on the staff from last year, and not necessarily in a good way. Nick Sheridan ended up taking most of the blame for Indiana’s offensive struggles in 2021, but there’s certainly a case to be made that Hiller’s offensive line was equally at fault. It seems plausible at this point to suggest that McCullough’s exit may have been in part due to Tom Allen’s decision to retain Hiller after last year.
The 2022 season was always going to be massive for Tom Allen, who erased any good will he earned during the miraculous 2020 season by going 2-10 last year. Allen can still right the ship, and he should have a talented roster this season even if the McCullough boys follow their dad to South Bend.
The recent coaching departures, however, suggest that Allen’s Love Each Other mantra may have some limits when it comes to repairing a football team. Here’s to hoping this isn’t the beginning of the end for what was one of the most fun, successful eras in Indiana football history.