In 1972 a little boy was born and immediately put up for adoption. This week’s guest might have the most dramatic and heartwarming story we or anyone else has ever had the pleasure of sharing. Our guest, Deland McCullough was adopted and raised in Youngstown, OH.

Football wasn’t just a thing to Deland, it was the thing that allowed him to escape all hardships he was facing.

In true underdog fashion, Deland wasn’t the star athlete from the beginning. He worked hard and had passion. Heck, he even enrolled in the Navy because he wanted out of Youngstown so badly. His break came when he was recruited by Miami University, more specifically, Sherman Smith (remember that name, it will hold great importance later).

Deland continued to be the underdog fighting hard to earn his position which ultimately leads to a record-breaking career for him at Miami.

He met adversity yet again when he went undrafted in 1996. He joined the Cincinnati Bengals and in true Deland spirit was fighting for his position until an unfortunate knee injury resulted in several surgeries. He recovered and joined the Philadelphia Eagles, but never saw any regular season playing time. He made his last attempt in the Canadian league with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before retiring as a player.

He had no idea who his father was when he started his coaching career in 2000, but always stayed in touch with his mentor, Sherman Smith.

He finally reconnected with his biological mother in 2017, only to find out that his father was his mentor, Sherman Smith. Yes, the same Sherman Smith who recruited him out of Youngstown, OH. Can you imagine his disbelief? 

Now a very humble running backs coach for the Kansas City Chief’s, he leads with control and confidence. He is very invested in the people that make up his teams. Success comes in many forms, but for the NFL the crowning achievement is the Superbowl Championship, which Deland can name proudly add to his resume.

He is also a proud husband and father of four young men; One of which is following in his footsteps and making his way at Miami University. We are so grateful for the opportunity to share this story with you, Underdog Nation!