Kenneth Waldo McCullough
Born: July 24, 1933 (Bartlesville, Oklahoma)
Died: June 22, 2014 (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
Ken McCullough was an offensive line coach in the CFL for seven seasons. He was hired by Saskatchewan head coach Eagle Keys in 1969, the year in which the Roughriders lost the Grey Cup by 29-11 to the Ottawa Rough Riders.
Keys brought McCullough with him to Vancouver when he was hired to be head coach of the B.C. Lions in 1971. The Lions were rebuilding and missed the playoffs the first two seasons under Keys’ direction. A bright note was the arrival of guard Al Wilson from Duncan, B.C., who would become the team’s centre and a stalwart of the offensive line under McCullough’s guidance.
Keys was fired in 1975 and, after completing the season, McCullough quit in March, 1976. He was hired to be offensive line coach of the NFL’s Houston Oilers under head coach Bum Phillips.
McCullough got a full football scholarship to Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma Statue University) in Stillwater, Okla., playing for the Aggies under coach J.B. Whitworth from 1951-54. He made the varsity squad as a freshman owing to his strength as a punter. He averaged 39 yards per punt in 1952.
The “scrappy wingman,” as the Ardmore (Okla.) Daily Ardmorite described him, also played end and tied for the team lead in points in 1952 with 24. McCullough was a regular on the Missouri Valley Conference team for his four seasons as an undergraduate, despite suffering ankle injuries and a broken arm.
He graduated with a science degree in agriculture in 1955, the same year in which he married Joanne Timmons, a classmate from Ardmore who worked as a stewardess. He signed with the Edmonton Eskimos and came north to join the Western Interprovincial Football Union team in August. He kicked a single in a preseason exhibition game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Edmonton. Despite that contribution, he was one of six imports placed on waivers by the Eskimos before the start of the regulars season.
McCullough, who was a member of the army infantry Reserve Officers Training Corps while on campus, received a commision as 2nd Lieutenant after completing an officers course in 1956. He would be a captain by the time he retired from the Army Reserve. It was while stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas that he began his coaching career, handling the army’s 1st Division team.
McCullough spent 12 years coaching high school and university football in Texas before joining the staff of the Roughriders.
After a year as an assistant coach in the NFL, McCullough went into business before returning to coaching high school teams at Copperas Cove, Tex., and Tuscaloosa, Ala.
He died at Northport Medical Center in Tuscaloose on June 22, aged 80. He leaves his second wife, Edna Duckworth McCullough, whom he married in 1982. He also leaves three daughters and a son from his marriage to the former Joanne Timmons, who survives him. Other survivors include a stepdaughter and a stepson; a sister; a brother; 19 grandchildren; and, nine great-grandchildren.