The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
In a move that everyone around the CSM football program agreed would be vital for the Bulldogs to continue and remain one of the nation’s best junior colleges when it comes to winning and transferring players to four-year universities, defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Tim Tulloch was upgraded to a full-time paid coaching position, effective nine days ago.
The move gives CSM two, full-time paid coaches and puts it in line with other ‘A’ level programs — the upper-echelon teams. All of the ‘A’ level programs in the state have two full-time coaches, and some have three or more. The Bulldogs, who won the Nor-Cal Conference championship and advanced to the state title game last year, had arguably the greatest season in school history with head coach Bret Pollack as the only full-time coach — an amazing accomplishment in itself.
“Bret was kind of a one man show last year, and hopefully I can take some of the load off him,” the 38-year-old Tulloch said.
When asked what Tulloch’s promotion meant, Pollack said, “Thank goodness. It’s huge. It (coaching an A-level program) can’t be done alone.”
Besides a well-deserved pay hike that comes with being upgraded to a full-time coaching position, Tulloch’s job title and responsibilities at CSM will pretty much remain the same. He was already basically putting in full-time hours coaching anyway; now he’ll simply add some more hours to his workload.
The biggest difference now is Tulloch will be on campus earlier in the day to teach an academic and life skills program to the players, Monday through Thursday. In terms of coaching, though, it will be business as usual. Tulloch is Pollack’s right-hand man, a top assistant every head coach needs for a variety of reasons. Basically, the more full-time coaches a program has, the greater the resources it has to recruit, which is the lifeblood to any college program. Pollack said Tulloch being upgraded to a full-time capacity role shows a tremendous commitment from CSM president Mike Claire and San Mateo County Community College District Chancellor Ron Galatolo.
And make no mistake: Pollack is grateful for the support.
“Our chancellor and president understand the role athletics play in a academic setting and the value to its students. They’ve taken time to look at it (athletics), go in and see what it’s all about,” Pollack said, referring to the fact that Claire and Galatolo both have attended several CSM practices and games over the years. “They see the rewards it brings to the student body, the exposure it brings to the school and they’ve supported it with time and money. To be honest, a lot of administrators give lip service to athletics. Our administration talk about it, takes pride in it and promotes it, and that’s the difference.”
With five kids ranging in age from 4 to 17, and another full-time job in the corporate sector, Tulloch lives a life that few can imagine. A typical day for Tulloch means waking up around 4:20 a.m., leaving the house by 4:50 and starting his workday at his “day job” shortly thereafter. After his shift, Tulloch heads straight to CSM, getting to campus around 11 to 11:30 a.m.
His coaching duties include teaching a class, running the defense in practice, breaking down film, preparing a game plan and periodically updating the team’s Facebook site. Tulloch won’t get back home until around 7 p.m., but his work for the day is far from done.
He’ll spend some time with his kids — last year all five of his children attended different schools — put them to sleep and finish up his daily duties from his corporate sector job from home. Tulloch, who earned his master’s degree in sports science last year, has immersed himself in two different worlds, talking to CEO’s one moment and teenagers who come from a lower socioeconomic background the next.
“But both are equally rewarding for their own reasons,” he said.
Tulloch credits his wife, Kantaly, for being the “CFO” of the family, taking care of the madness at the house.
“My wife is amazing; she keeps it all together,” Tulloch said. “I need 30 hours in a day, if you can make that happen for me.”
It takes a motivated and organized person to live Tulloch’s schedule, something Pollack has come to appreciate.
“Tim does a great job with his organizational skills and his way of teaching and making things easier to understand,” Pollack said. “I’ve been at CSM for 17 years, he’s been here for 14. We usually see things the same way, but sometimes we don’t, and that’s fine. We’re not afraid to tell each other what we’re thinking, because we respect each other’s opinion.”
Tulloch has certainly paid his dues. He became a defensive backs coach at CSM in 1997 before inheriting the defensive coordinator role in 2005. In reality though, last year was Tulloch’s first as the true head man on defense. Before stepping down after the 2008 season, then-Bulldogs coach Larry Owens basically handled the defense for most of his tenure since that area of the game was his specialty.
Tulloch credits Owens for making his transition a seamless one.
Tulloch was like a sponge, absorbing everything Owens had to say and teach about the defensive aspects of the game. Owens had such a tremendous influence on Tulloch’s life and coaching career that he named one of his three sons after him.
“Coach O has probably had the single biggest influence on me as a man and football coach,” Tulloch said. “They don’t make many like him. He’s the best I’ve ever been around.”
Tulloch also credits legendary CSM figure Tom Martinez, former teammate and best friend Dave Asiasi and Pollack as influential figures in his life. Although Tulloch loves coaching, he never really thought about doing it until ’97, when former CSM assistant coach Ken Haren told him to get in contact with Owens about a possible role at CSM coaching defensive backs. Just like that, Tulloch’s coaching career got rolling.
“The coaching itch came by fate,” he said. “(In the summers after my junior and senior years) my best friend (Asiasi) said we should train at CSM, because at the time Menlo (College) didn’t have a summer program. And that’s where I got to know coach Haren.”
Before starting his coaching career, Tulloch was a starting cornerback/safety at Palomar College and Menlo College. In his freshman year in ’91 at Palomar, Tulloch was a key member of a team that won the mythical community college national football championship.
Last season, the Bulldogs were on the cusp of doing the same, falling to Mt. San Antonio, 7-6, in the California Community College title game. CSM enters the 2010 campaign with no less lofty a goal.
“We have the same expectations now that we had last year,” Tulloch said. “Nothing has changed.”
Meaning it’s business as usual for Tulloch and the CSM football team.