The winningest and longest-serving football coach in Whitworth history, John Tully will lead the Pirates onto the gridiron for the 19th time in the Fall of 2013. Tully has a record of 127-98 in 22 seasons as a head football coach, 17 of which have been at Whitworth. Over the course of his tenure coaching the Bucs, Tully has made the team an annual Northwest Conference title contender.
"We have worked hard to put ourselves in this position," said Tully, who is 96-77 in 18 seasons as the Pirates' head coach, including a 82-44 record over the last 13 years. "Every year we want to be in a position to challenge for the conference championship and an NCAA playoff berth. And we have gotten to that point."
During his tenure, Tully has led Whitworth to three Northwest Conference titles and two NCAA Division III playoff appearances, and has also earned three NWC Coach of the Year awards. He won his first conference title with the Pirates during the 2001 season. In 2006, the 100th year of football at Whitworth, the Bucs posted a perfect regular season (10-0) on the way to an 11-1 record and an appearance in the second round of the national playoffs. They followed that up with a second straight conference title in 2007 and an 8-2 overall record. Whitworth also came close to making postseason in 2002, 2004 and 2005.
Prior to Tully's arrival at Whitworth in 1995, the Pirate program had suffered through 10 losing seasons in the previous 11 years. Tully spent the first three seasons righting the direction of the ship as the team finished 1-8 the first two years and 2-7 in 1997. But consecutive 5-5 seasons followed and 2000's 6-3 record was the school's first winning mark since 1990. The 61 wins from 2000 - 2008 are the most in any nine-year stretch in Whitworth history.
Tully has now been responsible for rebuilding a program twice. He came to Whitworth from Eureka College in Eureka, Ill., where he was the head football coach for five seasons. During his tenure at Eureka, Tully's accomplishments were numerous: Eureka had the most wins of any team in the Illini-Badger Conference in Tully's final three seasons; he coached the first undefeated team in school history (10-0) in 1991; Eureka had a final ranking of number three in the country and made its first national playoff appearance in 1991, returning to the playoffs in 1994; Tully was voted Illini-Badger Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1994 and was voted District 20 Coach of the Year in 1991. He was named a finalist for the American Football Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 1994. Prior to his arrival at Eureka, the football program had also gone through many years of struggle.
One of Tully's greatest successes at Whitworth has been establishing consistency in the coaching staff. Three of his assistant coaches are entering at least their 17th consecutive season coaching the Pirates in 2013.
Tully brought extensive coaching experience in the college ranks and in the Northwest to his position with the Pirates. From 1984 to 1989, he served as an assistant coach at Southern Oregon State College in Ashland, Oregon. He coached at Medford (Ore.) High School in 1983 and at Grants Pass (Ore.) High School from 1979 to 1982. Tully also coached at the University of San Diego in 1976 and at Los Molinos (Calif.) High School in 1975.
Tully received his bachelor's degree from Azusa Pacific University in 1975 and was a four-year starter at quarterback for the Cougars. He was named MVP of the team in 1973 and 1974 and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1991. Tully received his master's degree in education from the University of San Diego in 1979.