Dave Fuller

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Dave Fuller
Sport(s) Baseball, football
Biographical details
Born 1915
Died September 15, 2009(2009-09-15) (aged 94)
Gainesville, Florida
Playing career
1933–1937 Wake Forest
Position(s) Fullback, tailback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Football
1943
1947–1976

Baseball
1948–1975

Northwest Missouri State (Asst.)
Florida (Asst.)


Florida
Head coaching record
Overall 557–354–6 (.611)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
SEC (1952, 1956, 1962)
Records
Winningest coach in Florida Gators history
University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame

Dave Fuller (1915 – September 15, 2009) was an American college baseball coach who led the Florida Gators baseball team of the University of Florida for twenty-eight seasons.

Early life and education[edit]

Fuller attended Wake Forest University in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he played for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons football, Demon Deacons basketball and Demon Deacons baseball teams.[1] He was a three-year letterman in all three sports,[1] but achieved his greatest recognition as a fullback and tailback for the Demon Deacons.[2]

Transition from player to coach[edit]

After graduating from Wake Forest, Fuller played minor league baseball in the Dixie League and Coastal Plain League.[2] As he repeatedly recounted for friends, his inability to hit the curve ball led to the early end of his professional baseball career. Fuller tried his hand at coaching, first as the head football, basketball and baseball coach at Perquimans County High School in Hertford, North Carolina from 1940 to 1942, and then as an assistant football coach for the backfield at Northwest Missouri State Teacher's College in Maryville, Missouri in 1943. After coaching in the U.S. Navy's sports leadership program during World War II, he joined the University of Florida's physical education staff in 1946.[3]

Major college coaching career[edit]

Fuller was the head coach of the Florida Gators baseball team from 1948 to 1975, serving longer and winning more games than any other coach in the history of the Florida Gators intercollegiate sports program.[4] His Gators baseball teams compiled an overall win-loss-tie record of 557–354–6 (.611), won four Southeastern Conference (SEC) Eastern Division titles and three SEC championships (1952, 1956, 1962), and made three appearances in the NCAA baseball tournament (1958, 1960, 1962).[4] Fuller coached forty-seven All-SEC players, including the first three All-Americans in the history of the Gators baseball program, Bernie Parrish, Perry McGriff and Tom Moore. Eight of his Gators played Major League Baseball, including Dennis Aust, Ross Baumgarten, Doug Corbett, Roger Holt, Bernie Parrish, Haywood Sullivan, Dale Willis and Casey Wise.

Fuller was also an assistant coach for the Florida Gators football team for twenty-nine seasons from 1947 to 1976 under four different head coaches—Raymond Wolf, Bob Woodruff, Ray Graves and Doug Dickey. He served longer than any other assistant coach in school history, including as the head coach of the Gators freshman football team known as the "Baby Gators," varsity assistant, head scout and a key recruiter. Fuller was personally responsible for recruiting Doug Dickey, who later became the starting quarterback, the Gators head football coach and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame,[2] and also Jack Youngblood, who was recognized as a first-team All-American and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[1]

Legacy[edit]

Fuller was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as an "honorary letter winner" in 1976.[5][6] He died in Gainesville in 2009; he was 94 years old.[7] Fuller and his wife Patricia had a daughter and three sons; all four of their children graduated from the University of Florida. One son played football and another was a two-time All-SEC baseball player for the Gators.[8] Fuller's 557 career wins as the Gators head baseball coach remain the most in the history of the Florida Gators baseball program.[8]

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Baseball in Florida, Pineapple Press, Inc., Sarasota, Florida (1996). ISBN 1-56164-097-2.
  • McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.
  • Proctor, Samuel, & Wright Langley, Gator History: A Pictorial History of the University of Florida, South Star Publishing Company, Gainesville, Florida (1986). ISBN 0-938637-00-2.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jeremy Fowler, "Former UF coach dead at 94," The Orlando Sentinel (September 17, 2009). Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Former Gator Coach Dave Fuller Passes Away," Gatorzone.com (September 16, 2009). Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  3. ^ Bob Bassine, "25 years for Florida's Fuller," The Palm Beach Post, pp. D1 & D3 (May 31, 1972). Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  4. ^ a b 2009 Florida Gators Baseball Media Guide, History, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, p. 106 (2009). Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  5. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Honorary Letterwinners. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "Nine Named to UF Hall of Fame," St. Petersburg Times, p. 3C (April 24, 1976). Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  7. ^ Associated Press, "Winningest Florida baseball coach dies," ESPN.com (September 16, 2009). Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Pat Dooley, "Coach Dave Fuller is a Gator icon," The Gainesville Sun (September 16, 2009). Retrieved January 15, 2011.