Pulliam Stepping Down After 28 Years of Service to AFCA

Mel Pulliam, the director of marketing for the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), is leaving after 28 years of service to the national organization. 

Pulliam, the longest-tenured staff member in the 92-year history of the AFCA, has served in several capacities for the association. His current responsibilities include the development, implementation and management of marketing programs for the AFCA, including convention and corporate sponsorship. 

“When you’ve been with an organization for almost three decades, it’s inevitable that you will have some regrets about leaving,” said Pulliam. “But, I couldn’t ask for a more fulfilling career, representing the game and football coaching profession. It’s been great working with thousands of football coaches who have such passion for what they do, and are committed to making a positive difference in the lives of their players, students and fellow coaches, and in their schools and communities.”   

“Over the last 19 years, Mel and Linda Pulliam have become family to the Teaffs,” said Grant Teaff, AFCA Executive Director. “Mel has served two executive directors with loyalty and effort, and has helped make the Association a guardian of the game and the primary source for personal development and continuing education of the AFCA’s membership. Mel and Linda Pulliam will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.”

Pulliam plans to continue his career in the sports marketing industry. “Retirement is not in my vocabulary,” he said. “I have some ideas that I want to develop that I believe will be well-received in the marketplace, and that will be my focus in the future. And, I certainly hope to continue my association with the AFCA and contribute in some capacity.”

 Pulliam will end his AFCA duties following the AFCA national convention in January 2013. He and his wife, Linda, plan to eventually relocate to South Louisiana, where her three adult children and their families reside. 

Pulliam was associate sports information director at Auburn University when then-AFCA executive director Charlie McClendon asked him in 1984 to join the AFCA administrative staff as director of public relations. For more than a decade, he was the AFCA’s primary media contact person and was responsible for overseeing all aspects of external communications to the news media and general public and internal communications to the AFCA membership, which currently numbers more than 11,000. 

He produced virtually all of the AFCA’s published material that was distributed to the news media and membership. In addition to writing news releases, he served as editor for all AFCA publications, including instruction manuals for coaches.

After Grant Teaff was named AFCA executive director, Pulliam served in the dual role of director of communications and marketing for three years – 1994 through 1997 – before Teaff restructured his duties to allow him to devote his full energies to marketing. 

Pulliam’s responsibilities with the AFCA have included serving as liaison or coordinator for such AFCA programs as the Coaches’ All-America teams, the Coach of the Year, the Top 25 Coaches’ Poll and the Coaches’ National Championship Trophy, the Good Works Team® and College Football USA, now called NCAA Football.  He has composed the official minutes for more than 80 AFCA trustees’ meetings and has been the scriptwriter for more than 50 AFCA convention awards luncheons and similar functions.

His marketing efforts have resulted in millions of corporate dollars that have gone to underwrite programs for members’ professional development, fund the annual AFCA convention and provide significant exposure for the AFCA brand. Among his business relationships: Allstate, Wilson, Gatorade, XOS Digital, Schutt Sports, AstroTurf, Lowe’s, ADT, USA TODAY, Russell Athletic, IMG, Octagon and Taylor PR, as well as Pop Warner Youth Football, the NFL, the NCAA, the National Football Foundation, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the National Athletic Trainers Association.

Prior to his employment with the AFCA, Pulliam worked from 1973 through 1983 as associate sports information director at Auburn University. Originally from Berry, Ala., he is a 1969 graduate of Auburn. He began his career in sports administration as an undergraduate, working as a student-assistant in the school’s sports information department. 

He is a long-time member of the College Sports Information Directors of America, the Football Writers Association of America and the United States Basketball Writers Association. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Waco, and is a former member of its administrative board. The Pulliams reside in Woodway, Texas.

Mel Pulliam, ending his tenure with the American Football Coaches Association after 28 years, has worked directly with the following AFCA presidents, as well as hundreds of additional coaches from all collegiate divisions who have served on the AFCA Board of Trustees.

1985: Vince Dooley, Georgia
1986: Vic Rowen, San Francisco St.
1987: LaVell Edwards, BYU
1988: Joe Restic, Harvard
1989: Don James, Washington
1990: John Majors, Tennessee
1991: Bill Manlove, Widener
1992: John Cooper, Ohio St.
1993: Hayden Fry, Iowa
1994: Ron Schipper, Central College
1995: Billy Joe, Florida A&M
1996: Fisher DeBerry, Air Force
1997: Don Nehlen, West Virginia
1998: Roy Kidd, Eastern Kentucky
1999: Rocky Rees, Shippensburg
2000: Bob Ford, University at Albany
2001: Joe Taylor, Hampton
2002: Glen Mason, Minnesota
2003: Phil Fulmer, Tennessee
2004: Ken Hatfield, Rice
2005: Scot Dapp, Moravian
2006: Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri St.
2007: Ken Sparks, Carson-Newman
2008: Tyrone Willingham, Washington
2009: Dick Tomey, San Jose St.
2010: Larry Kehres, Mount Union
2011: Rob Ash, Montana St.
2012: Tim Murphy, Harvard

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