Spotlight on: Dick Dullaghan – Head coach at Ben Davis High and Carmel High (Indiana)
By Omar Muhammad
Dick Dullaghan is widely regarded as a living legend in the state of Indiana.
Thanks to his unmatched knowledge, wisdom and authority in the game of football, he has been a mentor to high school athletes for the past 31 years, all while racking up state championships and tremendous accolades along the way.
His resume speaks for itself. He captured his first state title as a head coach in 1978 with Carmel, is the only coach in Indiana history to lead a team to a national championship, was the only coach in the state to win a state title at two different schools and was one of only two Indiana coaches to have won the state championship eight times.
The longtime coach commenced his career at Carmel, where he first taught exactly what it took to be a champion. Dullaghan instilled his football wisdom there and immediately took this 3A team to the state championship. Surely, it was a sign of things to come.
After ten years at Carmel, Dullaghan then took the head coaching reigns at Ben Davis.
It took Dullaghan only three years to achieve another state title (in ’87) and Ben Davis’ first 5A championship. With this achievement, Dullaghan put himself at the top of the list of elite coaches in Indiana history by becoming the only coach to win the state championship at two different schools.
Dullaghan first enjoyed the national spotlight when he won the first AP national championship in Indiana history in ’91 with Ben Davis. Dullaghan’s Giants defeated the Penn Kingsmen, 38-14, at the Hoosier Dome for the 5A title game. Dullaghan was also named the national coach of the year.
With Dullaghan at the helm, the Giants program was a force to be reckoned with, capturing six more state titles before his departure in ’03. Altogether, Dullaghan posted a 313-58 overall record in his tenure as a head coach --- good for a winning percentage of 84.1.
Today, Dullaghan is retired, but has still found a way to reach out to countless players about the important values of sportsmanship and competitiveness in the community.
Dullaghan and J.R. Bishop (formerly of Wheaton College) created the Bishop Dullaghan Football Camps, established in ’74.
The program started with 22 campers and now employs over 160 coaches. Last year, the camp registered athletes from 15 states across the country, with an attendance of well over 2,200 athletes. With two great football minds leading the way, the camp became nationally renowned for its excellent skilled position results at the high school level. The skills camp has graduated All-State players in all skilled positions and dozens of All-Americans, including former camper Jay Cutler, now of the Denver Broncos. Rex Grossman of the Chicago Bears was also a three-year camper.
In his 40 years of football, not only has Dullaghan been a mentor and wealth of football knowledge, but also the legend has forever left his mark through the Ben Davis and Carmel football programs, his many high school student-athletes and the thousands of lives he has deeply touched.
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