Kelly Damphousse was raised in a small fishing village in northern Canada. As far back as he can remember, he wanted to be either a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer (a Mountie) or a goalie in the NHL. After a failed professional hockey tryout and high school graduation, he carefully considered his options (okay, he saw a poster in the counsellor's office) and began attending Lethbridge Community College in 1980. He earned an associate’s degree in Law Enforcement in 1982. Since he had just turned 19, police departments across the nation wisely chose not to hire the young fellow. He worked in construction for a while and eventually took a position as a correctional officer (guard) in the Alberta Correctional Services. He was a terrific guard. One of his annual evaluations read, “Damphousse, having you come to work is like having two good men out sick.” In retrospect, perhaps that was not a compliment…
After three long years in prison, he decided to renew his dream of becoming a Mountie by going back to school. After carefully checking his options (okay, he talked to a guy), he sold everything that he had (including his hockey gear), bought a motorcycle, and drove to Huntsville, Texas to attend Sam Houston State University in 1985. He graduated from SHSU with a BS in Criminal Justice (specializing in law enforcement and police science) in 1987. During his stay in Texas, however, he met a girl who neither wanted to marry a cop or a Canadian. So smitten was he that he gave up on his dream of becoming a Mountie and decided to stay in America.
He carefully considered his options for a US job (okay, he talked to a guy) and eventually took a job as a security manager for Macys Atlanta. He mostly took this job because the title "Junior Executive" sounded really cool and he was a big Braves fan. He had no idea how far $18,000 per year did NOT go in Atlanta. After a year of surviving his new vow of poverty, he pondered greatly his next step (okay, he talked to his fiancé) and requested a transfer to New Orleans so that he could be closer to his soon-to-be wife's family. After marriage, his wife informed him that she had bigger plans than to be just married to “junior anything.”
After much soul searching (okay, he talked to his wife), he began thinking about going to graduate school, even though he had not the slightest clue about, nor interest in, anything remotely related to research. His initial thought was to go back to SHSU for a graduate degree in criminal justice. But after much consideration (okay, he talked to his former advisor), he decided to seek a sociology degree to make himself more marketable. This was an uncomfortable decision because he had almost failed his only undergraduate sociology class, which he found to be interminably boring. After carefully checking his options (okay, he talked to his father-in-law, a professor at Texas A&M University), he applied to TAMU's sociology department. He was accepted into the program in 1988 (it was a slow year for them) and he began his graduate training in the spring of 1989. He hated graduate school and was about to drop out when he (you guessed it) he talked to a guy - Ben Crouch. Dr. Crouch talked him into sticking with graduate school and agreed to serve as his thesis advisor. He and Dr. Crouch began to study Satanism (actually, they studied people who practiced Satanism or policed satanic criminals). He completed his master’s thesis on the etiology of youthful Satanism in 1991. Quite coincidentally, his first daughter, Kayleigh, was born that same year.
Because he was poor and now had a master’s degree, he decided to go get a real job somewhere. A career in a state agency or teaching in a junior college seemed to be strong options. After carefully checking his options (okay, he talked with Dr. Crouch again), he decided to continue working on his PhD. He completed his doctorate under Dr. Howard Kaplan, director of the Laboratory for the Studies of Social Deviance (the deviance lab). His dissertation, examining the long-term consequences of drug use, was completed in 1994. Even more coincidentally, his second daughter, Kristen, was also born that year.
After graduation, he took a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Justice Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After a year there, he took a position as Assistant Professor in the College of Criminal Justice at SHSU (to be closer to his wife's family). In 1997, he took a position in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma (because his wife’s parents were going to retire and move to Oklahoma). He has been at OU ever since and will never leave. He has directed several research projects, most notably the American Terrorism Study (with his colleague – Brent Smith at the University of Arkansas), the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring project in OKC and Tulsa, and the first ever field test of voice stress analysis deception detection software.
He served as Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences from 2004 - 2013 when he was appointed as Interim Dean. He was named Dean of the college in 2014. In addition to teaching "Introduction to Sociology" to 750 freshmen per year, he serves as OU’s Big 12/NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative. Both of his daughters graduated from CAS; Kayleigh (Sociology 2014) and Kristen (Biology 2016). He and Beth serve the university as Family-in-Residence and the former empty-nesters are now parents to 380 OU students in Headington Hall.
So, as you can see, his perfectly planned life turned out pretty much as he planned…