Pharr San Juan Alamo High School


Kenneth W. McCullough

Published in Tuscaloosa News on June 24, 2014

TUSCALOOSA | Kenneth W. McCullough, age 80, of Tuscaloosa, formerly of Fayette, passed away Saturday, June 22, 2014 at Northport Medical Center. Services will be 2 p.m. Wednesday at St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa. Burial will follow in Fayette Memorial Gardens. The body will lie in state at the church from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Rev. John Vereiglio and Rev. John Drawhorn will officiate. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Opal and G.W. McCullough; son, Kenneth, and sisters, Barbara Reinhard and Linda Simpkins. 

Survivors include his spouse, Edna Duckworth McCullough of 31 years; mother of his children, Joanne Timmons; daughters, Cynthia McBurnie (Gregg) of Surrey British Columbia, Canada, Kathy Nelson (Greg) of Sugarland, Texas, Lori Tucker (Matt) of Acworth, Ga.; step-daughter, Allison Burkhalter (Jim); and son, Kenneth Steven McCullough (Renee) of Tomball, Texas; step-son, Allen Patterson (Tina); sister: Teresa Swagerty; brother, Dr. Gerald McCullough; 19 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. 

Ken graduated in 1955 from Oklahoma State University where he received a four-year football scholarship and earned a BS Degree in Agriculture. After a short career playing for the Canadian Football League, the Edmonton Eskimos, he returned back to Oklahoma. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant after completing the Basic Infantry Officers Course and received a rank of Captain when he retired from the Army Reserve. He was an avid outdoors-man and enjoyed hunting and fishing but coaching was always his first love. His coaching career started in 1956 at Fort Riley, Kansas where he coached the 1st division Army Team. He started his high school coaching at Hereford Texas High School in 1957. He then moved to Pharr, San Juan Alamo High School in Texas where he was appointed Athletic Director and Head Football Coach in 1959. McCullough then went to Breckenridge, Texas as Athletic Director and Head Coach before moving on to West Texas State University in Canyon. In 1969, McCullough moved to the Canadian Football League as an offensive Line Coach with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and while there, they played in the Canadian Grey Cup. In 1971, he followed the Roughriders head coach to the British Columbia Lions as their Offensive Line Coach until 1976. McCullough joined Bum Phillips with the Houston Oilers as Offensive Line Coach in the spring of 1976. In 1977, he entered private business in Alabama and Oklahoma. He married Edna Patterson from Fayette, Alabama in 1982. He went back into coaching at the High School level in Copperas Cove, Texas in 1986. Mr. McCullough finished his coaching career at Tuscaloosa High School. 

Pallbearers will be grandsons: Grant McCullough, Ryan Tucker, Christopher Tucker, Brock Burkhalter, Trey Burkhalter, and Kyle Patterson.

Honorary pallbearers are Wanda and Hugh Kilpatrick, Keith and Linda Blaylock, Dick and Linda Wright, JoAnn and Woody Sexton, Chester and Barbara Norris, and Amedisys Hospice of Northport.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Amedisys Hospice. 

The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff of Amedisys Hospice and caregivers of Northport Medical Center.


PSJA's Williams dies at 83-The Monitor-Feb 27 2014

Charlie Williams, perhaps the best football coach in Valley history, died on Sunday in Longview. Williams was 83 and had been battling Alzheimer’s disease. He is survived by his wife Joy, his son Randy and his daughter Ronnie.

When The Monitor ranked the Valley’s all-time coaches during the “100 Greatest” series in 2008, Williams landed the top spot. In 1998, Williams was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

He was best known for taking PSJA High to consecutive state title games in 1962 and ’63 — his first two years on the job. Williams racked up a 188-57-12 record and 12 district titles in 24 seasons between PSJA, McAllen High, Harlingen High and Alice. He went 96-34-7 in his two stints at PSJA, making him the school’s all-time winningest coach. He also coached at McHi from 1974-80, winning an outright district title in 1979, which would be the school’s last outright league title until the 2013 season.

Williams was 17-3-1 in two seasons with Harlingen in the early 80s and coached future NFL player Johnnie Jackson.

“He was a heck of a coach based just on the way he was able to motivate the kids to play together and play tough and play beyond our capabilities,” said Julio Ayala, who played safety under Williams at PSJA in the early 60s. “He showed us how to win.”

Williams was credited with being among the first to implement a two-platoon system, with offense and defense as separate units. Traditionally, the best 11 players had played both sides of the ball.

“That was a heck of an idea that no one had ever done before,” Ayala said. “We delivered. We went to the big time.”

Despite all of his success in terms of wins and losses, many of his former players remember Williams more for what he did on a personal level.

“His records speak for themselves, but more importantly is that he changed the lives of so many of us,” Ayala said.

Many of Williams’ players, like halfback Poppy Rodriguez, grew up without a father figure. Williams was often there to fill that void, and Rodriguez said he and his coach “were very close.”

Quarterback Carlos Vela and Ayala said Williams played a major role in his players’ education. They estimate that about 90 percent of the players on the ’62 and ’63 teams went on to earn a degree beyond high school.

“We now know why we are successful men in our later years is because he showed us how to handle ourselves and how to give it the very best effort, whether it’s school or at work,” Ayala said. “We’re very grateful for what he did for us.”

Williams was also influential in Rodriguez’s decision to become a coach. After playing under Williams at PSJA, Rodriguez became a backfield coach on Williams’ McAllen High staff in 1974. Rodriguez stayed there until 1980, when he became the head coach at McAllen Memorial.

“I became a coach because of how he handled me and how he handled my teammates,” Rodriguez said. “With a few different deals, I ran his type of offense. A lot of his philosophy in coaching was instilled in me.”

Despite their previously close connection, Williams had lost touch with most of his former players. Williams moved into a nursing home a few years back. Like many struggling with Alzheimer’s, Williams had good days and bad.

The players had hoped Williams might be able return to PSJA to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversary last year, but he was not healthy enough to travel.

Ayala is attempting to gather as many former players as possible to travel to Williams’ services, which will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday at First Lutheran Church in Longview. Rodriguez said he plans to be there.

“He was very influential in my life as far as being there whenever I needed him,” Rodriguez said. “He would do anything.”


Hall-of-Fame High School Coach

Charlie Williams Passes Away

            The Advance News Journal got word Monday that longtime RGV high school football coach Charlie Williams passed away Sunday night.

            Reached by phone Tuesday, one of Williams’ former players at PSJA, Gilbert Muzquiz, says his former coach was always a special sort of guy.

            “Charlie came from a poor, humble family in Refugio, Texas, so he was able to relate to the many poor players in this community.  That was his biggest asset in getting us to believe and follow him.  He was an innovator on both offense and defense, and his record proves it”.

            On the Texas list of high school football coaches with the most wins, Williams stand at number 111.   After 24 years spent marching up and down the sidelines, he left the field with 186 wins, 56 losses and 15 ties.

            “Charlie came here in 1958 with Jack Harris and Ken McCullough” says Muzquiz. “He coached me in ‘60 and then took the ’62 and ’63 PSJA teams to the state finals.  When I left for college, he told me, hurry back because I want you to work for me.  So after I graduated, I came back here and coached with him at PSJA for five years.”

            Williams stayed with the Bears until he left for Alice in 1974.  Then he came back to the Valley and coached at Harlingen, McAllen, and then back to PSJA in the late 1980s.

            After his coaching career was over, Williams was inducted into both the RGV Sports Hall of Fame and the Texas High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

            Despite the passing years, though, Muzquiz kept in contact with Williams.  It was his way with kids that endeared him to so many of his players, he say, “He had just a magnetic personality.  After finding out about his death, I sent an email to some of the guys who played football with me under Charlie.  And here’s what some of them wrote back.  What I’m doing is collecting these in a notebook, and then I‘m going to give it to Charlie’s wife, so she can see how much we all thought of him.”

            On his passing, some of the 1960 players wrote:

Robert Harrington, San Diego, CA: “He would put his hands on my shoulder and make me believe I could run through walls.  I will miss him”.

Bill Spencer, Utah: “I admired him.  He was an impressive man.”

Tom White, Dallas: “RIP Coach Williams….a classy guy.”

Jim Henderson, McAllen: “And so goes a wonderful coach and man. So sorry.”

Yoyo Isaguirrie, Rapid City, SD: “End of an Era!!!  May he rest in peace”.

            Williams had been ill at the Alpine Home in Longview, Texas, for the past four years and in the hospital twice last year due to two broken hips, according to Muzquiz.

            Charlie Williams’ funeral will be this Saturday at 10 am at the First Lutheran Church in Longview, Texas.  Rader Funeral Home in Longview is in charge of the services.

            “Charlie Williams was a friend, a mentor, a member of my family who I will miss for the rest of my life,” says Gilbert Muzquiz.

Advance News

February 26, 2014

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