Craig McGallion is entering his fifth season at Lamar, but his first as the team's defensive coordinator. His previous four seasons have been spent working with the LU linebackers and as the team's recruiting coordinator.
Despite being a young program, the Cardinals have gained respect within the Southland Conference at the linebacker position. Since rejoining the Southland, the Cardinals have had at least one linebacker recognized on the All-Southland Conference teams. In 2013, senior James Washington continued that tradition for Lamar. Washington finished fourth on the team with 61 tackles, including six for losses and two sacks. He was also credited with two interceptions and 10 pass deflections.
McGallion has the unenviable task of trying to reload a defensive unit that graduated nine starters from last year. The Cardinals took a hit to every position defensively due to attrition, including All-America defensive lineman Jesse Dickson.
"Craig has a great defensive background and knowledge of the game," said Woodard. "In addition to that, Craig has been around for several years now and has worked very closely with Bill. He was key in helping Bill implement a lot of the things we do here now. There is also the added benefit of keeping that continuity with the players, which is something we were looking to do as we began looking for a new defensive coordinator."
A former University of Houston standout and long-time defensive coordinator at Silsbee High School, McGallion joined Ray Woodard's initial staff at Lamar on June 16, 2008, as an assistant coach.
Over the past three seasons of Southland Conference competition, McGallion has seen four of his linebackers earn honorable mention all-league honors. Asim Hicks and Darby Jackson were honored in 2011, while Jermaine Longino was recognized in 2012 after tying for the conference lead with 107 tackles.
McGallion came to Lamar after serving on the Silsbee staff under his brother Bobby for 10 years, where the Tigers made the playoffs six times.
McGallion spent three seasons as the head coach at Barbers Hill from 1995-98 following a two-year stint at Woodville from 1993-94. The son of the late Silsbee coaching legend Stud McGallion led Woodville to the playoffs in his first season with a 6-4-1 mark.
From 1989-93, McGallion spent time in the Cy-Fair Independent School District at both Cy-Fair HS and Cy-Creek HS. He mentored future NFL Pro Bowl selection Sam Adams, who played at Texas A&M, along with Shane Rink, who starred at Texas, while at Cy-Creek.
McGallion was a three-year letterman and two-year starter at noseguard for the University of Houston. He received his bachelor's degree in Education from UH in 1984.
McGallion graduated from Silsbee HS in 1979 and was an all-state selection at linebacker who was also a member of the 1977 Tiger team that reached the state semifinals. He also played in the 1979 Texas High School All-Star Game.
He has been married to his wife Gayle since 1983 and the couple has a son, Lance, and a daughter, Lacey. Lance is a Lamar University graduate and Lacey earned a degree from Lamar Institute of Technology.