James Fuller Returns as Head Coach

by Steve Curran

Fuller Looks to Defend the NAL Title

JACKSONVILLE – After a record-breaking 15-1 season that concluded with the Jacksonville Sharks winning the league championship in 2019, Shark Nation celebrated one of the best seasons in team history. Going into 2020, Coach Fuller was ready to defend Jacksonville’s title, as he put together an elite squad in preparation for a back to back championship run. That goal unfortunately was put on hold. Now 2021 will be the time for the Sharks to rise up and take on the NAL in hopes to accomplish one feat the Sharks have yet to capture; back to back NAL championship titles. Jacksonville will have a target on their back as new teams, players, and coaches look to knock the champs off their pedestal. “It’s good to be back, said Coach Fuller.  I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and defending our Championship.” In his first season with the Sharks Coach Fuller helped build one of the best defenses in the NAL. Boasting the most interceptions, sacks, fumble recoveries, interceptions for touchdowns, and the largest turnover margin during the 2019 season. The Sharks also finished second in fewest points allowed. Fuller’s championship defense featured two 2nd team All-NAL players, four 1st team All-NAL Players, the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, Defensive Lineman of the Year, and Defensive Rookie of the Year. As a result of all the team and player accolades Coach Fuller was named the 2019 NAL Assistant Coach of the Year.

In 2018, Fuller was the head coach for the 7-8 Maine Mammoths. They had a rough 1-7 start but were arguably the most dangerous team after finishing the second half of the season with a 6-1 record, ending one game shy of a playoff berth on a five-game win streak. Fuller and the Mammoths defeated the Sharks, Cobras, Pirates, and Lions, who all made the playoffs. Prior to the Maine Mammoths, Fuller has had a long career in coaching arena football, serving as the head coach of the Richmond Raiders 2011-2015 where he was 37-24, making three PIFL Cup appearances and earning PIFL Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2015. He also served as the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Vigilantes of the AFL in 2010, finishing the season as the interim head coach. Fuller served as the wide receiver and defensive backs coach of the Dallas Desperados from 2006-2008 and was the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Soul in 2004-2005. During the 2005 season, he was named interim head coach after the fifth game. Fuller was head coach of the AF2 Bakersfield Biltz from 2002-2003 winning the Western Conference Championship in 2002. Fuller began his coaching career as the associate head coach and defensive coordinator of the Portland Forest Dragons in 1999 and moved with the team to Oklahoma City where they became the Oklahoma City Wranglers in 2000.

As a player, Fuller was a defensive back and wide receiver who spent his college career at Portland State. During his NFL career, he played defensive back for the San Diego Chargers from 1992-1994 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996-1997. In arena football, he played for the Portland Forest Dragons in 1998 before becoming their associate head coach.

About the Jacksonville Sharks

The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The 2017 and 2019 NAL Champions and ArenaBowl XXIV Champions play all their home games at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. Follow the Sharks on Facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter and Instagram @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.