Special teams star kicks it up a notch for final season

Dylan Stinson
Assistant Sports Editor

The News

Senior kicker/punter Kienan Cullen is a little bit more athletic than your average special teams star. Cullen was a three-sport athlete at Butler High School in Louisville, Ky., playing soccer, basketball and football. What may come as a surprise to most about Cullen is he has only been kicking and punting footballs for a short time. Football was the last sport Cullen chose to play, but it seems he caught on to the game quickly.
“I didn’t start playing football until my junior year of high school because I played soccer all my life and my oldest brother got a scholarship to play football, so I figured why not try it,” Cullen said.
Immediately after joining the team he took over all kicking and punting duties for the Racers and began his legacy as the team’s go-to guy on special teams.  
Cullen had a phenomenal freshmen season averaging 37.4 yards on 51 punts and 12 punts downed inside the 20. Cullen also went 14-for-20 on field goals with a long of 41, was 27-of-29 on extra-point attempts and averaged 55.3 yards on 47 kickoffs with two touchbacks. Cullen would go on to earn 2009 First-Team All-OVC Punter, 2009 Second-Team All-OVC Kicker and 2009 Preseason All-OVC Kicker due to performance during his freshman season.
Needless to say, Cullen had pressure surrounding him before his sophomore season started, but Cullen saw the hype as a challenge and not a standard he had to live up to. Cullen averaged 41.0 yards on 68 punts and had 15 punts more than 50 yards while having 21 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Cullen achieved many accomplishments including a career-best 72-yard punt against Tennessee Tech.
Cullen also had a phenomenal year kicking. He finished the season making 14-of-17 field goals and hit a career-best 48-yard

Melissa Ruhlman/The News

field goal against SEMO. Cullen was flawless in extra point attempts going a perfect 22-for-22. Cullen said his favorite memory as a Racer was from his sophomore season when he went 3-for-3 and kicked the game winning field goal against Tennessee State.
After Cullen’s breakout sophomore season he was picked for 2010 First-Team All-Commonwealth 2010, First-Team All-OVC Kicker 2010, Preseason All-OVC Punter and 2010 Preseason All-OVC Kicker. Cullen had another great season connecting on 15-of-23 of his field goal attempts. Six of his 15 scores were 40 yards or greater. He went 44-for-48 on extra-point attempts and set school records for extra-point attempts and makes against Missouri State when he went  9-for-10. Cullen had yet another strong punting season also averaging 40.8 yards on 48 punts. He booted eight punts more than 50 yards and had 10 punts downed inside the 20-yard line while amassing 11 touchbacks, including five against Eastern Illinois.
Cullen has given the Racers a lot of excitement at Murray State, but as his time winds down, he contemplates his next move in life.
“My plan is to go back to Louisville and get a nice teaching job and kind of just hang out, nothing too serious. I want to teach special education like high school behavior disorders.”
There are many things Cullen will miss when he leaves Murray State, but the things he will miss most will be his friends he has made over the years on the Racers football team.
“The thing I’ll miss most is just the competition and being around 90 of my friends everyday,” Cullen said.
One thing is for sure, Racer fans will miss No. 3 just as much as he will miss Murray State.
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