Report: IU's McCullough tapped as next Irish RB coach, McNulty leaving for Boston College

Dustin Dopirak
ND Insider
BLOOMINGTON, IN - AUGUST 11, 2021 -  Indiana Hoosiers associate Head Coach and running backs coach Deland McCullough during fall camp at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, IN.

Notre Dame reportedly filled one of its assistant coach vacancies Monday, but suffered another defection.

A little more than two weeks after Notre Dame running backs coach Lance Taylor left to become the offensive coordinator at Louisville, the Irish plucked Indiana running backs coach Deland McCullough as his replacement.

The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, was the first to report McCullough's hiring.

Irish tight ends coach John McNulty, meanwhile, will leave that post to become the offensive coordinator at Boston College.

McCullough, who starred as a running back at Miami (Ohio) from 1992-95, was Indiana's running backs coach under Kevin Wilson from 2011-16. When Wilson resigned, McCullough left for Southern California for the 2017 season, then spent three years as the Kansas City Chiefs' running backs coach, helping them to three AFC Championship games, two Super Bowl appearances and the Super Bowl LIV title. 

McCullough returned to Indiana for the 2021 season and led a running back room hurt by injuries and transfers.

► More:Notre Dame running backs coach Lance Taylor to be new Louisville offensive coordinator

Taylor had been at Notre Dame since 2019, after former Irish coach Brian Kelly hired him from the Carolina Panthers, where he was the wide receivers coach, the position he played during his collegiate career at Alabama.

Notre Dame running backs coach Lance Taylor talks with recruits at the Irish Invasion football recruiting on June 9.

While with the Irish Taylor oversaw some strong rushing attacks during his three seasons in South Bend, beginning with Tony Jones Jr. who ran for 857 yards and six touchdowns in 2019.

Kyren Williams, who declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season and opted out of the Irish's 37-35 loss to then No. 9  Oklahoma State in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, led Notre Dame on the ground the past two seasons, recording 1,125 rushing yards in 2020 and 995 yards this past season along with a combined 27 rushing touchdowns. 

Notre Dame's starting running back spot in 2022 is up for grabs. Chris Tyree, an upcoming junior who Taylor recruited, and sophomore Logan Diggs will be the leading candidates to replace Williams. Diggs ran for a team-leading 29 yards on nine carries against the Cowboys, while Tyree added 18 yards on six rushes, with a 53-yard touchdown catch. 

McCullough's departure from the Hoosiers calls into question the future of three of his sons, all of whom were either on Indiana's roster or were planning to be shortly. His oldest son Deland Jr. transferred to the Hoosiers from Miami (Ohio) and was a reserve in the secondary last year.

Dasan, who starred at Bloomington South last year as an edge rusher, signed with the Hoosiers in the 2022 class as a linebacker and is the highest-rated player ever signed by Indiana in the recruiting service era. Because he signed a national letter of intent, he is prohibited from playing anywhere other than Indiana for the 2022 season, but can transfer after that. 

McCullough's third son Daeh, a four-star recruit from Bloomington South who could play cornerback or safety, has verbally committed to the Hoosiers for the 2023 class. Because he has not signed a letter of intent, he could change his commitment without penalty. 

Tight ends coach John McNulty before football practice Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

McNulty, who will be back in South Bend Nov. 19 when Boston College visits Notre Dame, has coached for 32 seasons. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Rutgers before being fired four games into the 2019 season.

A graduate of Penn State where he was a walk-on safety, McNulty went on to collegiate coaching stops at Michigan, UConn and Penn State, as well as NFL stops with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville, Dallas, Arizona, Tampa Bay and Tennessee.

McNulty came to Notre Dame in March of 2020, and took over one of the best tight end groups in the country with senior Tommy Tremble and freshman Michael Mayer. 

Tremble, a superior blocking tight end, was selected in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.

After a breakout freshman season, Mayer earned third-team All-American status as a sophomore last season. He set the Notre Dame record for most receptions (64) by a tight end in a single season and tied the program record for most receptions by a tight end in a single game twice (9). 

Among Power-5 tight ends nationally, he ranked first in receptions and receiving yards per game (69.8).