By Connor Mullins
Eagles Head Coach Michael Fullen took the top position this year after serving as defensive coordinator for over 20 years for the Eagles.
“This job lived up to my expectations. Obviously it’s different when you’re an assistant at a program for 22 years,” Fullen said.
As an assistant, Fullen worried about football and defensive decisions, but now faces a lot of other decisions as the head athletic coordinator.
“When you get on this side, you’re dealing with a lot of other decisions with some being for football and some being for other sports like volleyball,” Fullen said. “Then there’s things football wise that have nothing to do with Xs and Os but have everything to do with football. Those are probably the biggest things I knew, but you really don’t know until you get in this chair. I’m a much better head coach now than I was the day I got the job.”
Juggling both the head football position with the athletic coordinator duties stretches Fullen’s time.
“My duties outside of football are going to volleyball games or middle school games,” Fullen said. “I have something to do just about every night and it’s hard to do with football because I can’t go to as many volleyball games because we’re practicing or I had a middle school game to attend. Now with basketball games you’re going to more just because of how the season is set up. My job is to support those programs and those coaches with what they need or how I can help them. I’m kind of a sounding board between them and our athletic director downtown.”
When former Eagles head coach Del Van Cox left to take an assistant athletic director position for Abilene ISD, Fullen was the frontrunner to take over. Some of his players and parents made “Eagles for Fullen” t-shirts to show support for the veteran defensive coordinator.
“I had no idea about the t-shirts,” Fullen said. “I didn’t know anything about them until they came out. I knew that they when they had the meeting downtown about hiring me for the position. I actually had some players that were going to miss a practice and not tell me in order to go to the meeting downtown. I got ahead of that and I thought it would be better if one or two players went to that because I didn’t want the whole team going. I thought that would be the right thing to do, even though they were supporting me, I just didn’t want that to affect anything, but at the same time when see stuff like that, it’s a huge honor.”
Senior Eagles team captains Khalil Spivey, an offensive lineman, and Jorge Hernandez, a safety, have been with Fullen since their freshman year and were very complimentary of the first year head coach.
“Having coach Kern and coach Fullen step up was a big deal because they’ve stuck around through the thick and thin,” Spivey said. “This team means everything to me. I’ll still come back and watch them play because they got a lot of talent and I’m excited to see what they can do next year.”
“My biggest mentor these past four years would be coach Fullen and coach Williamson because they were always there for me,” Hernandez said. “They are some pretty tough coaches but they’re really great coaches and men who have helped me a lot to be the person I am today.”