NEW MIAMI — The New Miami High School boys basketball program will have a new leader next season.
Dillon McCullough was announced Thursday morning as the Vikings’ next head coach. He takes over for Jared Lee, who led New Miami to a 63-78 record and eight total postseason victories the last six seasons. The Vikings went 4-19 this past season.
This is McCullough’s first prep head coaching job.
“I’m excited as can be,” McCullough said. “I want everyone to know in New Miami that I want it just as much as the players. I’m genuinely going to be invested in this team and this program. I look forward to better these student-athlete’s lives.
“Everyone wants to win basketball games, and that’s what I’m going to come in here and try to do. I want these kids to be more than basketball players, too. That’s what is making me the most excited about this opportunity. I’m going to give them everything that I can.”
McCullough is a 2018 Tri-County North graduate and 2023 graduate of Miami University Middletown with a degree in business management.
McCullough was a standout player at both the high school and collegiate level. His head coaching experience includes the AAU Midwest Basketball Club.
“We interviewed several qualified candidates, but Dillon stood out among them with his professionalism, energy and his vision for our program,” New Miami athletic director Eric Hayes said. “Dillon’s enthusiasm for basketball is infectious. He absolutely loves the game, and he loves coaching.
“We’re excited to give him the opportunity to bring his skills to the high school level and lead our basketball program.”
McCullough, a Lewisburg resident, said he played against New Miami on the basketball court during his high school days. So he understands the community’s tight-knit vibe.
“I want to have a team that this area can take pride in,” McCullough said. “It’s a great small town with success. They all support each other. That’s what I’m excited about — trying to bring success to the community.
“Our behavior has to match our goals. We can’t be messing around in the classroom. You can’t expect to succeed in one category in life if you’re not going to follow the exact same steps in other parts of your life.”
McCullough said he’s played basketball since he was 3 years old and considers the sport his go-to. It ultimately led to an athletic scholarship to play at Goshen College his freshman year before transferring to Miami-Middletown.
“Everywhere I’ve gone, I win. I want to be a leader,” McCullough said. “I know how to win. I’m definitely looking forward to bringing that same culture and that same attitude to New Miami as a coach.”
McCullough said he had a couple opportunities to play basketball at the next level overseas, but he decided against it — noting he’d rather remain closer to family. He recently accepted a flexible full-time job at Heartland Credit Card Processing in the sales field.
“Coaching here will be a great way for me to stay involved with the game,” McCullough said. “I always figured I’d be a really good coach once I got into it. Scratching that itch as an AAU coach this summer, I became instantly addicted. There’s going to be no way that I’m going to ever stop coaching. I knew I had to get into it as soon as I can. I can’t wait to get even more consumed by it.”
McCullough said his coaching style is still developing, but he believes being a younger mentor is going to have its perks.
“I am very updated with how the game is being played right now,” he said. “That’s what I’m super excited about. I want to learn how the players play on our team so I can put them in the best position to succeed.
“It would be a lie if I told you that we’re going to play fast, or we’re going to do this. Because anyone can say that. My thing is that I’m well-rounded enough to consider skill development and improve our players through watching film. They’re going to develop their skills and see the bigger picture and get those pieces of the puzzle to fit. You can’t jam a piece of the puzzle in the wrong spot, or it’s going to get messed up.”
McCullough said he’s looking to bring Cameron Sterrett on board as a varsity assistant. Sterrett is a 2018 Tri-Village graduate.
“To put it simply, he is a genius,” McCullough said of Sterrett. “He’s statistical genius. I think he’s going to be a very big boost and will be valuable to the community and the program.”