By Rohan Andresen ’12
Varsity basketball player Justin Hamman ’11 summed up coach Mr. Tony
Fuller with two definitions.
“If coach Fuller was defined in a dictionary, the first line would read: a true enthusiast to the game of basketball, originated in Detroit. The second line would read: The characteristic of always putting the well-being of one’s players before one’s enthusiasm, with occasional increases in volume of voice.”
For one of the few times in Brophy’s history, this year the basketball team with coach Mr. Fuller made it to the state championship.
The team lost 50-29 to Mesa Mountain View on Friday, March 4.
Mr. Fuller has a long history with basketball.
He attended Pepperdine University where he played on the college team and was later drafted into the NBA. He played in the early 1980s for the Detroit Pistons.
He first became interested in coaching during college when he coached at summer camps in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
After leaving the NBA, he took up a basketball coaching job at Stanford before coming to Brophy in 2005.
Mr. Fuller has coached the varsity basketball team for five years, and currently teaches freshmen P.E. classes.
However, Mr. Fuller is not just a strong basketball player.
“He’s a great coach and a great guy,” said varsity starter Sai Tummala ’11. “He brought us together as a team and made us work to the highest potential.”
Mr. Fuller’s appreciation of the team is reciprocated.
“They were joy to coach, no problems, on or off the court. They asked me to push them and I knew we had enough talent to go far,” Mr. Fuller said.
This year was one of Brophy’s best seasons in recent years with a 21-8 record.
“I think it is a continuation of a process that started when I first got here that keeps improving,” Mr. Fuller said as he reflected on the prior seasons. “My first year we won 11 games, then we won 14 games, then we won 16, then we won 18 and now we won 21.”
Mr. Fuller said that it was a great achievement and accomplishment to get to the state championship; however, he said that he wished they would have had more time in between the semi-finals and the finals games to prepare more in order to put up a better effort.
Mr. Fuller was nominated for basketball coach of the year among large high schools in Arizona.
“I think coach Fuller deserves to be coach of the year because he has really turned the program around since five years ago,” Tummala said. “He doesn’t really like awards; he just wants to get down and work hard and improve the program.”