Shawn McCullough doesn’t mind thanking his lucky stars in landing the boys high school basketball head coaching position at Thurgood Marshall.
“I never dreamed this,” said McCullough following an announcement by new Dayton Public Schools athletic director Mark Baker on Monday that McCullough would succeed Darnell Hoskins. “The stars will align for you at some point.”
It’s a return to the City League for McCullough, who previously was an assistant for Hoskins at Thurgood from 2010-13. McCullough also was the boys coach at Stivers from 2013-15. Last season he teamed with Baker as an assistant at Middletown.
The Thurgood position opened when Hoskins resigned following last season to succeed Baker as Middletown’s boys varsity basketball coach. Baker was named to replace Jonas Smith as the DPS athletic director in June. Smith resigned to become the AD of the Bowling Green City School District.
McCullough, 40, is a pharmesutical sales rep. He and twin brother Andy McCullough were standout athletes in football and basketball at Meadowdale, graduating in 1994.
“He has very strong local and community ties,” Baker said. “The big thing for us is he’s a good for kids. We wanted someone who not only is good at winning games, but also just as good at winning kids. It’s a great fit.”
Thurgood and Dunbar have consistently been the City League’s top boys hoop programs the last 15 years. Thurgood most recently advanced to the Division II state final four in 2014 and also was the D-II state runner-up in 2011 under Hoskins. Thurgood had another D-II state runner-up team with John Ralph as head coach and won a D-II state title in 1990 as Colonel White.
McCullough played basketball for one season at Ohio State University then transferred and played the remainder of his collegiate career at San Jose State. He began his basketball coaching career as an assistant for Jeff Price at Sinclair Community College from 2004-08.
“I always say (Hoskins) conned me into it,” McCullough said. “He called me and said I need you to be an assistant coach and I didn’t even think about it. He’s always been a big brother and means the world to me.”
McCullough parlayed that into the head position at Stivers in succeeding Carlos Roberts. His first season with the Tigers — 2013-14 — was notable because Stivers (16-10) advanced to a (D-III) regional for the first time since the 1975 Frankie Sanders-led squad stormed to the Class AA state runner-up.
Just as noteworthy was McCullough’s non-renewal as Stivers’ coach following the next season. He was succeeded at Stivers in 2015 by Felix Turner, previously Meadowdale’s coach.
“It was a no-brainer,” McCullough said. “Thurgood’s a state power and Darnell made it even better. My goal is to up the standard even more.”
That leaves one boys head coaching position open in the City League: Ponitz. Baker said the coaching contract of Dwayne Hansbro was not renewed after one season.