UPDATED: with Chris Doody's coaching record at Corinth.
Justin Culligan spent last fall as an assistant coach, and the experience rekindled his passion for coaching.
On Tuesday night, Culligan was approved as the new head football coach at Corinth High School by the school board. He replaces Chris Doody, who plans to continue as an assistant after four years as the Tomahawks’ head coach.
Culligan — the former Whitehall head coach who was fired during the 2014 season as part of the fallout from a fight-marred football game — had been content being an assistant at Corinth.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to be a head coach again — I really enjoyed last year as an assistant,” said Culligan, 42, who will continue to be a U.S. history, government and economics teacher at Whitehall High School. “The kids were unbelievable. They got me back to that passion I had two years ago.”
Culligan went 19-14 in four seasons as Whitehall’s head coach before he was dismissed by the school board following a game against Rensselaer that was ended early by rough play and a near-brawl. He was also passed over as the Railroaders’ head track coach, a position he had held for several years.
Until 2015, Culligan had coached football at some level every year since graduating from Queensbury High School in 1993. After taking the year off to enjoy time with his family, Culligan was asked to join the Corinth track and field program as an assistant.
He joined the football staff last fall, coaching the quarterbacks, fullbacks and defensive line for the Tomahawks. However, injuries and turnovers hurt Corinth in a 2-7 season.
Corinth is about an hour’s drive from Whitehall, Culligan said, but is much closer to his home in Queensbury. He and his wife, Jamie, have 1-year-old twins and Culligan’s 10-year-old son, Sean.
“Chris and I were talking around Christmastime and he told me that he wasn’t sure he was coming back as head coach,” Culligan said. “They opened (the job) up to the public, but they weren’t getting any interest. I talked to my wife about it, and two weeks ago I threw my name in.”
Doody -- who went 18-18 in four seasons with the Tomahawks, leading them to their first sectional wins since 1979 -- said he decided to step down for personal reasons.
“Coaching football in this area is an eight- or nine-month job if you want to give the kids a good experience, and that just isn’t something I can provide our kids right now,” Doody wrote in an email. “Serving as head coach the last four years provided me with many great memories and I couldn’t ask for anything more from our kids and this community.”
Culligan, who is still a track assistant this spring, said he plans to keep everything the same from last football season for continuity.
“The kids played hard last season, we just got hit with injuries,” Culligan said. “But we have good players coming back. We’ll be competitive.”