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McCullough and Hrncir: UTPB's dynamic duo

A new head coach and a new starting quarterback have the Falcons excited for their future.

ODESSA, Texas — Dec. 22, 2022, marked the beginning of a new era for the University of Texas Permian Basin football program.

27-year-old Kris McCullough was hired as the team's second-ever head coach, and the youngest head man in the nation.

McCullough immediately went to work building up the program, and later in the winter, he added transfer quarterback Kenny Hrncir to the mix to become his new starter. 

But in the new age of college football, when this sort of thing happens all the time, why is this important? Well as McCullough said himself, the pair has "been through a lot together."

Head coach and quarterback might be the two most important pieces to building any football team, and at UTPB, that bond has been built through years of growing together.

"He was one of the few guys giving me a chance out of high school to come play for him," said Hrncir. "He's always been straight up with me, told me exactly what's going on, where he is."

"Every bit of that visit told me that he could be the future of our program," said McCullough. "Very calm, relaxed, cool dude, doesn't say a whole lot, but the way he plays is unreal."

Hrncir is back in West Texas, after attending Wink High School for two years. And his relationship with McCullough is the top thing that has brought him back, after the pair cut their teeth together at East Central University in Oklahoma.

He has thrown for 37 touchdowns over the last two seasons, as part of the top-ranked transfer portal class in Division II that McCullough has brought in for 2023.  

"I played for him for four years, over in East Central, grew a connection," said Hrncir. "He started out young, about my age now whenever I met him, so kind of grew together, him as a coach, me as a player, and just wanted to play that last season with him."

"I literally was a quarterback coach, and low man on the totem pole, and we worked our way up together," said McCullough. "He's started 36 games now for me, so he knows my playbook as well as I do, so having him is everything."

A special relationship formed in the Sooner State now heads south to the Lone Star Conference, where with Hrncir helping lead the way, McCullough says the expectations are high for the future of the Falcons. 

"The sky's the limit," McCullough said. "It really is. Talent wise, this is the most talented team I've ever had, most depth I've ever had. But we've only been here for five months, and half the battle that you have as a head coach isn't the talent you have or the scheme you have, it's the gelling of the players and the culture. And we've built a culture on family here, and family doesn't come overnight. Family doesn't come over five months."

"I know that this team really wants to win," Hrncir said. "The guys who have been here, the guys coming in, we all want to win, and so, I mean, just anything's possible this year, but just keep growing throughout this summer. Get all the guys up here and just grow as a team."

One thing's for sure, family will be the mantra at UTPB under McCullough, and he and Hrncir are practically that, heading into year five together in a new setting this go around in West Texas.

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