FROST — They could have taken six months or six minutes, but the powers at Frost knew just what they were doing when they named Randy Fulton their new head football coach and Athletic Director.
Sure, Frost was in a dilemma when former coach and AD Coy Barker left abruptly in late June, about a six weeks before the first day of summer practice.
There were plenty of outside coaches who applied for the job, but the right man was already there, and Fulton, who has been Frost's defensive coordinator and head boys and girls track coach the last three years, knew the time was right to become a head football coach.
“I felt like I had prepared myself for this,” Fulton said this week. “I did my time doing the proper steps to get ready for this.”
Those steps started in high school when he played for Rankin, a small town in West Texas, a place that Fulton says reminds him of Frost — great town, good people and old fashioned values.
His first job out of college (UT Permian) was at Odessa Permian, and he moved to this part of Texas when he became the junior high athletic coordinator at Whitney.
He was at Whitney for 13 years and coached track, football and basketball in junior high. He was told at the time if he wanted to be a head high school football coach he needed experience at the high school level, and he left to become the head track & field coach and an assistant football coach and assistant wrestling coach at Class 5A Saginaw High School, where his track program excelled and where Fulton coached linebackers and defensive ends for the Roughriders varsity football team.
Fulton has flourished as a track coach and is a pole vaulting guru who has had successful pole vaulters wherever he has been. He became the assistant wrestling coach at Saginaw because, “the athletic director told me I had the job because he knew I was a boxer,” Fulton said.
Fulton boxed for years growing up and had success in Golden Gloves competitions and boxed in the Junior Olympics in Fort Worth in the 80-pound weight class.
Fulton came to Frost three years ago from Saginaw when Barker called and offered him the defensive coordinator's job. Barker and Fulton were at Whitney together, and Barker knew Fulton was a talented coach with a great work ethic, and Fulton has been a big part of Frost's success the last three years.
Fulton knows the kids, knows the program and Frost knows Fulton.
It looks and feels like a perfect fit for the Polar Bears, and instead of worrying about starting all over at the last minute, everyone at Frost can't wait to get started on another big season.
“We've been flying around here for two weeks,” said Fulton, who takes over the program in the middle of a massive construction project at the school, where they're tearing down the old gym to replace it with a new gym and athletic building. The old gym, which is being demolished daily, housed the football office and the locker rooms for the football players so Fulton has been moving everything from lockers to the his desk and files to a new location for his office, to football equipment. He's literally been on the run since the day he was named the head man.
He has had a lot of days that begin at 6 a.m. and end around midnight, but he couldn't be happier.
Football practice begins Aug. 5 and Fulton, who has 10 fingers in 12 pies these days, is excited about his new job and a new season at Frost, where the plans are to make a strong run in the playoffs. He expects his numbers to be up when the kids take the field in nine days and he expects the attitude to be even higher, because he knows his players so well.
He knows the best athletes in the junior high, middle school and beyond.
“I know the pre-K kids at Frost,” he said.
Ironically, in the midst of all the chaos of the demolition crews and the last-minute change in coaches, Fulton and the folks at Frost are expecting a smooth transition on the football field.
Fulton's defense the past three seasons has been the best Frost has seen other than the 2012 team that is considered the best in Frost history, and Fulton knows his offense as well and is looking for another big year from quarterback Antoni Alvarado and running back Ramon Manrriquez, who lead the Bears.
“Stability is the most important thing for the kids,” Fulton said. “It's important to know the kids.”