Mike Fulton: Success goes beyond the court


Dennis Lee

Mike Fulton during the state champion game.

Angelo Neto, Reporter

Mike Fulton has been coaching local colleges and high school basketball for over 30 years. Always leaving at least one title in the schools where he coaches, Fulton is certainly someone who leaves his legacy wherever he goes. A well-known and admired figure in the SD community, Fulton carries 3 basketball state champions with him, including one state championship for San Domenico last season. He revealed that the goal for this season’s women’s basketball team is to win BCL West, which in his opinion is the most competitive small school league of California. He also wants to win a back-to-back state championship, an event he has accomplished in his career before.

Successful coaching requires a complex methodology. However, Fulton’s strategies are simple: “All athletes have to be buying your idea and then they have to learn how to play as a team, without selfishness,” Fulton mentioned. Experience taught Fulton that there is a pattern to successful athletic performance. Athletes do best when they have a strong “work ethic” and maintain the belief that even when things “aren’t going [their] way, [they] just work harder.”

At San Domenico, Fulton has had a huge impact on school athletics and the community as a whole. Mark Churchill, San Domenico’s athletic director, was impressed with Coach Mike’s ability to coach not only on the court but outside the court as well.

“Coach Fulton really started our success in basketball and other sports,” Churchill said.  “He doesn’t accept anything other than success. At the same time he’s that lovable coach that everybody likes. He is hard on the players on the court and he is soft on them outside the court. His impact goes outside sports, he teaches everybody how to respect the game and how to respect each other.”

Last season, as important as his athletes, Fulton was a pivotal character for the women’s basketball team, which won the state basketball championship for the first time in history. Maja Cykowska 23′, one of the captains of the women’s basketball team, assumed that one of Fulton’s greatest qualities is his commitment to the sport.

“He is a really experienced person and what makes him unique is his commitment to the sport,” Cykowska said.  “He demands a lot from his players. For him, if you want to be  a champion you don’t miss or skip any practice; it doesn’t matter if it’s Saturday, Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

Cykoswka, is also an international student who is part of SD’s boarding program and she emphasized that Fulton is much more than a coach.

“For me, he is like a part of my family,” Cykowska said. “I know I can count on him anytime I need and I have the freedom to talk about topics that go beyond basketball, such as life or school.”