Former Portales football player inducted into NMAA Hall of Fame

Kevin Wilson

A Portales native who played a role in numerous Clovis High School championships has been given the New Mexico Activities Association’s highest honor.

Dale Fullerton, a 1968 graduate of Portales High School, was announced Monday as a 2011 inductee into the NMAA Hall of Fame.

Fullerton, now superintendent at Bovina Schools, said he was informed of the honor about two weeks ago.

“I don’t know if grateful’s a good word for it,” Fullerton said, “but just to be considered with all of the people who have been a part of it, it’s certainly gratifying.”

He will be inducted during the state basketball tournament in March. Inductees receive a commemorative plaque and Hall of Fame ring, and receive a lifetime pass to NMAA-sponsored tournaments and meets.

Fullerton played football, baseball and basketball at Portales High. He played baseball at Eastern New Mexico University, and was a member of the Greyhound freshman basketball team. Concussions, he said, kept him out of college football.

Fullerton served in the Clovis Municipal Schools district from 1974 to 2005, including 13 years at principal at Marshall Junior High. Coaching positions served included an assistant post with the boys basketball team when it won its last state title in 1979, a five-year stint as baseball coach and 16 years over two stretches with the Wildcat football squad (1978-90 and 2000-02).

He was either secondary coach or defensive coordinator for eight football titles, including 1978, 1990, 2001 and the Wildcat five-peat from 1981 to 1985.

“Probably the last one (is most special), since it’s the freshest,” said Fullerton, whose son Cal is currently an assistant for Eric Roanhaus and coaches the boys golf team at CHS. “But I think winning five in a row was the highlight to that coaching stint. Certainly, it was a great run, and I think it really made (the tradition) a little more solid.”

According to the NMAA website, the hall of fame inducts up to four individuals each year “who have made significant contributions to interscholastic education in this state over an extended period of time.”

Requirements include 25 years of direct school services, at least 20 in New Mexico, involvement in interscholastic activities and support of NMAA philosophy and objectives.

“While I was in there,” Fullerton said, “we started the (NMAA) ‘Pursuing Victory with Honor’ program, and that’s something Brian (Stacy, current athletic director) has kept going.”

Stacy said Fullerton was the model athletic director, and noted Fullerton’s door was open from the moment he joined CHS as a cross country coach to his transition to replace him.

“When I came in, especially for the 30 days that crossed over, it was fantastic,” Stacy said. “He was a good mentor. One of the things I learned from him was to be six months ahead of the game.”

Fullerton succeeded Bill Bizzell, a former CHS assistant principal, twice at BHS — in 2006 in the role of principal, and last fall in the role of superintendent when Bizzell became Clovis’ parks and recreation director.

Inductees are placed in the NMAA’s Hall of Pride and Honor, but Fullerton’s already there. He was inducted three years ago into the New Mexico Officials Association hall of fame.

Fullerton left Clovis between semesters in the 2005-06 school year to become principal at Bovina High School, citing a need to free up more time for family. He was replaced by current Athletic Director Brian Stacy.

“All of that time spent in Clovis was a great place to work,” Fullerton said. “I’ve worked for some great superintendents, really good athletic directors. Of course, working with Eric Roanhaus was great.”