Fullerton resigns as head coach of Wildcat football program
Last updated 5/14/2022 at 3:50pm
CLOVIS — Cal Fullerton, Clovis High School’s head football coach for the past five years, has resigned from coaching and teaching with Clovis Municipal Schools, effective May 27.
“It’s for personal reasons,” Fullerton said of his resignation submitted Thursday. “It’s what’s best for me and my family.”
Fullerton said that a “huge factor” in his decision is his family. Fullerton stressed that his family is always going to come first in his decisions.
“As a family we’ve had to make some hard decisions in the past two months and this one was hard as well,” Fullerton said. “This was necessary for me and my family.”
Fullerton declined to comment on his future, but did say, “If I do coach again it’s going to be in a district where the kids come first.”
Fullerton declined to elaborate on what he meant by “where the kids come first,” other than to say he didn’t want to comment further.
CMS Athletic Director Lonnie Baca said he was surprised by Fullerton’s resignation. “I hope we all put kids first. I know the Clovis school district does. That’s the reason we’re all here,” Baca said.
Fullerton said there are some “genuine” people he’ll miss at Clovis Municipal Schools, including his coaches and the kids.
“It was nothing but God sending me to be the head coach of this program,” Fullerton said. “It’s time for us to look for other opportunities.”
“This was a dream come true,” Fullerton said of his coaching career with the Wildcats.
Cal Fullerton has been coaching with Clovis Municipal Schools since 2002 and was head coach of the Wildcats for the past five seasons.
CMS Superintendent Renee Russ wrote in an email, “I can confirm that Mr. Fullerton submitted his resignation. We wish him well.” She did not respond to a phone call and text message asking for additional information.
A 1997 CHS graduate, Fullerton’s teams posted a 24-24 record in his five seasons at the helm, including a 10-9 mark in district competition.
The Wildcats made the state Class 6A playoffs four times during his tenure.
The only time they didn’t qualify was in the COVID-shortened spring season of 2020-21, when there was no postseason.
Fullerton’s best year during that time came in 2019 when the Cats finished 8-4 overall, including 4-0 to capture the District 2/5A championship. They reached the second round of the playoffs that season before losing to Rio Rancho Cleveland, 52-43.
Clovis struggled through a 3-6 regular campaign in 2021, making the postseason before losing in the first round at Las Cruces High 42-7.
Fullerton, 43, who taught physical education at CHS, joined longtime CHS coach Eric Roanhaus’ staff in 2002 as the junior varsity coach. He was named head coach when Roanhaus stepped down after the 2016 season.
“I think he’s an unbelievable guy to work for,” said Richard Cruce, who is the Wildcats’ baseball coach and an assistant in football for eight years under Roanhaus and Fullerton. “He’s great to work for as far as letting us be with our families during the season and still being able to get our work done.”
Michael Cohen, who played for Fullerton’s 2004 JV squad and spent his junior and senior seasons as an offensive and defensive tackle on the varsity, described Fullerton as “a great coach. He was always there for the players. He would open up the weight room for us when nobody else wanted to.
“Anything we ever needed, he was always there for us. I don’t think I ever heard Cal talk down to anyone.”
Baca said the school will quickly get busy with finding a replacement.
“Hopefully, we’ll open the position next week and get some quick applications and quick interviews,” he said on Friday. “Our district wishes (Fullerton) the best in whatever he decides to do moving forward.”
The News Staff Writer Dave Wagner contributed to this report.