Jabo Fulghum: News-Argus Baseball Coach of the Year
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on June 22, 2008 2:03 AM
Entering the 2008 season, Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum knew his talented team had a strong work ethic and just the right mix of leadership.
But like any coach, he had questions.
"I felt like we had the ingredients to have a good year and have a good run," said Fulghum. "I knew we were going to be able to swing the bat and we had some good leadership. With the boys' work ethic in the offseason, you know what it's going to be going into the season. I had a good feeling."
Fulghum was right. The Warriors captured the program's first regular-season conference championship since 1989, presented Fulghum with two playoff victories after an 0-for-9 drought and amassed 21 victories overall.
A 16-year veteran in the prep ranks, Fulghum earned Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference Coach of the Year accolades and is also the 2008 News-Argus All-Area Baseball Coach of the Year.
Sophomore Cambric Moye transitioned smoothly into the catcher's role vacated by senior Tyler Wicks, who moved to first base. Fellow newcomer Colton Fulghum filled the hole in right field with relative ease and provided some pop at the bottom of the Warriors' lineup.
Eastern Wayne more than met its skipper's expectations at the plate. The Warriors hit .379 as a team and slugged 39 home runs. Both marks were the best by any team during the Fulghum era.
"We hit the ball up and down the lineup," said Fulghum. "You have to have guys that can get it done. Some years you have some holes in your lineup and we really didn't have any holes.
"It was just one of those years where we had a lot of guys on our team that had a lot of heart."
While Eastern Wayne's offense set new records, its pitching staff held opposing offenses in check. After a year off from baseball, Michael Mintz returned to the mound to go 6-0 with a 3.82 ERA.
Adron Hollowell started the season on the junior varsity squad before making the most of an opportunity on the varsity level and finished the season 6-0. Anthony O'tellio worked important innings for the Warriors, while junior John Wooten recorded five saves and 57 strikeouts.
Known for testing his clubs with a difficult non-conference schedule, Fulghum found his team off to a quick 0-2 start in 2008. The Warriors faced traditionally strong South Central, North Lenoir and Greenville Rose along with competing in an Easter tournament in Greenville.
Those early challenges paid dividends later on as Eastern Wayne strung together 14 consecutive wins en route to the ECC regular-season title.
Aside from the conference championship, school records, victories and playoff appearances, perhaps Fulghum's most lasting coaching trait is his genuine concern for the young men he has the opportunity to coach.
"Coach Fulghum is a great coach," said Wooten. "He's always helped me and made me a better player. He's the kind of coach that will do everything for you.
"He would give you the shirt off his back. He's such a great guy on and off the field."
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