Nick Souder

Weaver's Nick Souder after winning the 1A-5A 113-pound state wrestling final. He beat Alexandria's Lane Trapp. Photo by Bill Wilson / The Anniston Star

It’s difficult to create your own legacy when you’re the successor to a coach like Gene Taylor,  who won nine Class 1A-4A wrestling state championships from 1993 to 2004, including two separate four-peats from ’96 to ’99 then ’01 to ’04.

Even so, Andy Fulmer is starting to make it difficult for the coach after him, especially considering he’s a rather young coach with many years, rather decades, left ahead of him.

Simply, it’s becoming harder and harder to think about the Weaver wrestling program without his name attached to it.

Fulmer, a 1998 graduate of Weaver, has coached and mentored nine individual AHSAA state champions since taking over the reins of the program in 2005. The list includes Geomry Ledbetter, Daren Allison, Jake Taylor, DeAnthony Smith, Christian Cortez, Chase Rodgers and Nick Souder.

Allison and Souder won back-to-back years in 2008-09 and 2015-16 respectively. Jake Taylor, the son of Gene Taylor, stood atop the podium in 2009.

When Fulmer was a wrestler, he won county and state championships. As a coach, he’s won a county championship and the Gene Taylor Memorial tournament in back-to-back years.

It’s hard to find anyone who will argue Fulmer isn’t one of the good guys, regardless of the sport.

Fulmer is the kind of coach who goes above and beyond to make sure his wrestlers, even students (he’s a seventh grade history teacher during the day), make every stride towards accomplishing their goals, whatever they may be. Also, he’s the first one there to congratulate wrestlers from other schools following wins.

To say the sky’s the limit for Fulmer is an understatement. By the time he’s ready to hang up the whistle, he’ll be among the all-time greats to ever coach in Alabama.