The all-time wins leader in Viking Football history, Dennis McCulloch will mark his 25th year at Valley City State and his 22nd as head football coach during the 2018 season. He also serves as assistant athletic director.
Over his time as head coach, McCulloch has guided the Vikings to a 125-88 record, six conference championships and four NAIA playoff appearances. He has been named conference Coach of the Year six times in his career. In McCulloch's tenure, 16 Vikings have earned NAIA All-American honors while 52 players have been named NAIA Scholar-Athletes.
The Vikings posted a 5-5 overall record during the 2017 season, McCulloch's 21st as head coach. That included two wins over rival University of Jamestown to keep the Paint Bucket Trophy in Valley City.
McCulloch won his 117th game on Oct. 15, 2016, passing VCSU Hall of Fame coach Jim Dew (116 victories) for the most wins in program history. McCulloch is currently 10th on the active list of all-time winningest NAIA coaches.
The 2016 season saw the Vikings finish with a 6-4 overall record and a 4-2 record in conference play, finishing second in the NSAA standings. The Vikings won two games against Top 25 teams, including a 17-13 victory at No. 14-ranked Southeastern University (Fla.) to end the season. Viking quarterback Kurtis Walls and linebacker Nicholas McBeain both rewrote the Viking record books during the 2016 season, setting new career records in most of the major passing and tackling categories. McBeain was named 2nd Team All American at linebacker.
McCulloch's team finished the 2015 season with a 7-3 overall record and a 4-2 mark in conference play. VCSU finished second in the NSAA standings, ending a run of four straight conference titles.
In 2014, McCulloch led the Vikings to a 6-0 record in the North Star Athletic Association, an outright conference title and an NAIA playoff appearance. It was the fourth straight conference title for the Vikings, and McCulloch was voted conference Coach of the Year for the fourth season in a row. VCSU finished 2014 with a 9-2 overall record, losing to No. 1-ranked Carroll College in the opening round of the playoffs. VCSU finished the season ranked No. 16 in the nation.
McCulloch won his 100th career game on Sept. 20, 2014, with a 33-21 victory at Dickinson State University.
In 2013, McCulloch led the Vikings to a share of the inaugural North Star Athletic Association conference championship. The Vikings went 3-1 in conference play and were 5-5 overall. Senior running back Derek Elliott broke or tied at least 13 school records during the 2013 season and was named First Team All American by the nation’s coaches. McCulloch was voted conference Coach of the Year for the third year in a row in 2013.
In 2012, McCulloch guided the Vikings to a 7-3 record, and the A.I.I. Conference Title. VCSU was ranked No. 24 in the country in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Postseason Poll. McCulloch was voted A.I.I. Coach of the Year by his peers in 2012.
The Vikings finished the 2011 campaign 9-2, and qualified for the NAIA National Playoffs for the third time under Coach McCulloch. After posting nine straight victories, the Vikings finished the regular season ranked No. 12 in the country. Coach McCulloch also added another DAC championship to his tenure finishing 6-0 in the conference, and he was named Coach of the Year.
The 2005 Vikings captured the Dakota Athletic Conference crown by posting a 6-1 conference record – sharing the title with Dickinson State. McCulloch earned DAC Coach of the Year honors in 2005.
McCulloch's 2000 and 2001 Vikings completed impressive 9-2 seasons, capturing a share of the 2000 DAC-10 championship and making the NAIA National Playoffs in both seasons. As a result of his efforts, McCulloch was named the DAC-10 Coach of the Year in 2000.
Prior to becoming the head coach, McCulloch compiled a 9-1 regular season record and a NDCAC championship in his third season as the defensive coordinator with the Vikings in 1996.
A native of Milbank, S.D., McCulloch received his Bachelor's Degree from Northern State and went on to receive his Master of Science Degree from NSU in 1989. In McCulloch's time at Northern State, he developed a diverse background of experience while coaching linebackers, defensive line, defensive backs and working as the recruiting coordinator.
In 1993, McCulloch became the head football coach at Frazee (Minn.) High School and before coming to VCSU as the defensive coordinator in 1994. McCulloch's 1996 defense finished the season ranked No. 2 in NAIA scoring defense, captured a conference championship and qualified for the NAIA Playoffs.
McCulloch became the 22nd head football coach in Valley City State history in December of 1996.
Dennis and his wife Lisa, have three children: Ryan, a VCSU and NDSU alum; Meghan, a VCSU alum; and Alexa, a VCSU student.