Fuller plans to use tools from mentors for success at Godby
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Corey Fuller wasn’t unlike any other newly hired head football coach, after he took the job at Godby High School. He promised a turnaround and just winning. Period.
He actually plans to do that by implementing some of what he learned on his path from Rickards High School to the NFL. It’s not all about the X’s and O’s for Fuller, though.
More importantly, he said, his focus is going to be on molding the Godby High School football players into becoming better human beings. Fuller, who was introduced to the Cougars last week, said there were too many coaches who changed his life for him not to learn from them and pass it on to the players on the team that gave him his second head-coaching job on the high school level.
“I’ll be a fool not to ring back on Mike Hickman’s teaching, Coach (Willie) Williams’ teaching, Bobby (Bowden’s) teaching and even my recruiter at Florida State, Chuck Amato,” Fuller said.
While those four men have influenced Fuller’s life and his coaching style, he said there were many more during his career. All of them contributed to helping him turn his life around while growing up in a rough neighborhood on Tallahassee’s south side.
None of his mentors doubt that he could do the same for the players he’ll coach at Godby.
“He is concerned about the whole individual; not just football,” said Williams, who was Fuller’s position and track coach at Rickards. “Saving young lives.
“They are going to perform because of who he is. He had a background of being a NFL player and he is from Tallahassee. He was raised on the southside in a tough area so he has that mental toughness and he is very competitive.”
Fuller established a reputation for being a demanding coach, starting as an assistant at Rickards after spending 10 years in the NFL. He made his biggest impact when he took over a 0-10 East Gadsden program and built it into a team that made the playoffs.
Fuller got his first coaching job on the college level as an assistant to Earl Holmes at FAMU in 2012. Two years later, he inherited the interim head coaching post when Holmes was let go. However, Fuller didn’t return for the 2015 season and returned to East Gadsden.
The Jaguars finished with a 5-5 record this past season, making it to the first round of the 4A playoffs.
Hickman, who still has a jersey that Fuller gave him from his first collegiate bowl appearance with FSU, said it shouldn’t be long before Fuller gets the Cougars back to being a power in Big Bend football.
“It’s not about X’s and O’s, there are a lot of different ways to skin that cat, whether you run the spread, run the power running game or whatever,” said Hickman, Fuller’s head coach at Rickards. “They’ve got the athletes to do it.
“I don’t want to put pressure on him, but I think in a short period of time they’re going to have to be dealt with.”
Fuller’s charge at Godby is to turnaround a program that won just two games this past season under Todd Lanter, who retired at the end of the season.
Fuller said he’s been interviewing some potential candidates for his assistant staff, which he plans to have in place after schools break for the Christmas holidays.
Then, he said, he’ll turn his attention to building a winning program.
“I feel real good about going into Godby,” Fuller said. “We are going to do great things. I’m not good at underachieving so I’m going to try to do my best. I don’t think it gets any better than this. I can’t say I’m going to win state, but we are sure going to try to kick the door in to be there.”