Tallahassee, FL — Wherever he has gone throughout his college coaching career, Adam Fuller has seen his teams get better under his direction. Whether it was WPI where began his career as a linebackers coach in 1998 or during his six year stay at Marshall from 2013-2018 where worked his way up to defensive coordinator, or serving in the same role at Memphis University in 2019, Fuller has consistently moved up the chain of command at each stop, clearly making an impression on those he has worked with and for.
The 1994 graduate of Tewksbury High has shown he can get the job done at any level and because of that he has worked his way up to college football’s biggest stage.
Most recently Fuller wrapped his first season as defensive coordinator at Florida State University, one of the most prestigious college football programs in the entire country. And while this season did not go exactly as Fuller or the Seminoles had planned, with a 3-6 record to go along with a couple of pandemic related cancellations, the Seminoles appear to be on the right track for improvement next year led by first year head coach Mike Norvell as well as Fuller’s guidance on the defensive side of the ball.
If the season as a whole did not go exactly as they would have liked, there were plenty of good moments along the way, highlighted by a shocking 31-28 win over then fifth ranked and undefeated North Carolina on October 17, as well as a season ending 56-35 rout of Duke just two weeks ago, on December 12.
Fuller was named Florida State’s defensive coordinator on Dec. 12, 2019, after spending just one season at Memphis. But during that one season he proved himself to Tigers head coach Mike Norvell, and when Norvell was named head coach at Florida State in early December of 2019, he wasted little time in hiring some of his top assistants, including Fuller.
It is little wonder why. As reported by the Florida State Football website, in his one season at Memphis he helped lead the Tigers to a program-record 12 wins, including the school’s first outright conference championship since 1969, and a berth in the New Year’s Six Cotton Bowl. His defense, which featured five all-conference performers, ranked 20th in FBS with a team passing efficiency defense rating of 115.36 and ranked 25th in the nation with an average of 7.0 tackles for loss per game. The Tigers forced 18 takeaways and returned two for touchdowns as Memphis became one of only six teams in the country with multiple defensive touchdowns each season from 2016-19.
In the regular season finale that clinched a third straight berth in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game, Memphis recorded 15 tackles for loss, the fifth-highest single-game total in the nation in 2019 and one shy of the program record. One week earlier the Tigers held USF to five first downs and forced five straight three-and-outs to close out a 49-10 victory.
But Fuller was no one year wonder.
His great season at Memphis was preceded by six outstanding seasons at Marshall. Once again, according to the FSU website, Fuller spent six years on the defensive staff at Marshall, including serving as defensive coordinator in 2018. That year, the Thundering Herd ranked seventh in FBS with an average of 3.23 sacks per game and eighth in rushing defense, allowing 104.2 yards per game. Fuller coordinated one of only three defenses in the country that did not allow a 100-yard rusher that season. The defense allowed a third-down conversion percentage of only .317, 13th-lowest in the nation, and also ranked 12th with 12 fumble recoveries, 17th with three defensive touchdowns and 20th with 24 total takeaways.
Prior to his coaching days, Fuller also made his mark on the gridiron. After his days as a linebacker at Tewksbury High, Fuller went on to have a great career at Sacred Heart University. During his collegiate career, he earned Football Gazette All-American honors as a linebacker in 1996 and led the team in defensive tackles for two straight years. As a senior, he was named the team's captain, and also served the same role at the National All-Star Bowl held in Cleveland, Ohio.