Randy Culp said his only year coaching alongside his mentor went faster than he expected.
What else Culp didn’t expect was for it to be his only year coaching alongside Glenn Cunningham.
But now, Culp will take over for his mentor as he will be the new Harker Heights head baseball coach next season, which Killeen Independent School District confirmed earlier in the week.
Culp will take the reins from Cunningham, who coached Heights for the past nine seasons and has decided to retire after a 30-year coaching career.
Culp, for one, was extremely grateful for the chance to work with Cunningham, who coached him at Ellison in the early 1990s.
“He’s my mentor and kind of the reason I got into coaching,” Culp said of Cunningham. “So, he’s always been real close — he’s like a second dad to me.”
Culp was also a head coach at Shoemaker from 2004-2011 before serving as an assistant baseball and football coach at Ellison for two years.
Then Culp finally got the chance to work with Cunningham this past season, an opportunity he won’t soon forget.
“It was an opportunity to get to work with the guy that got you in the business,” Culp said. “I have the utmost respect for him and really just learned so much from him over the years, him being a mentor to me.
“And I wanted to give back to him and be his assistant for a year, help him out, and we had a run, man.”
Culp will look to keep that run going with a Heights team that returns nearly all of its key contributors, including District 8-5A Newcomer of the Year Daniel Cole and All 8-5A first-teamers Michael Rae Zapata and Tyler Torres.
Culp said his players are excited for the upcoming season and that the feeling is mutual.
“We have a wealth of talent at Harker Heights,” Culp said. “We only had two seniors this year. We have a lot of guys coming back. It’s just really exciting.”
And as exciting as his only season as an assistant to Cunningham was, Culp and Cunningham are looking forward to the future of the Knight baseball program with Culp at the helm.