From start to finish, Jerome Fulton oversees the entire progression of all’ home games.
As facilities director at the University of Tampa, Fulton makes sure that everything surrounding the games runs smoothly, even if he has to step out from behind the scenes and help out first hand.
‘I went to play the national anthem once at a game here, and for some reason it did not play,’ Fulton explained, ‘so I sang the national anthem.’
Fulton, who is in his 28th year at UT, does his best to make sure that all athletic events at the university are run the right way and in the right conditions.
While it’s tough to play favorites, Fulton enjoys taking care of the Martinez Sports Center.
‘I think that it would probably have to do with my favorite sport, and basketball is my favorite sport, but we also play volleyball in [Martinez],’ he said.
Being surrounded by sports for so many years, Fulton has grown to appreciate all sports and athletes, not just basketball, which he grew up playing.
‘Soccer,’ he said, ‘which is nothing that I grew up with, I really appreciate soccer athletes because they go through a lot.’
The soccer field at UT was re-done last year, making it more resistant to heavy rains and a lot of action.
‘The last field lasted probably about 20 years, which is probably too long,’ said Fulton. ‘Hopefully this will last past my working life.’
The new soccer field has made it easier for the facilities crew and also for the soccer players, who now play on a much improved surface.
‘Soccer was really, really challenging before we got our new field, which we just got last year [‘hellip;] and now the challenge is to maintain that field,’ Fulton said.
When the fields are not in need of maintenance, his time is spent setting up for games.
‘There’s a lot of time involvedIf the game starts at 7 o’clock for a basketball game, I’m going to start setting up two hours before, because an hour before, the court has to be ready for warm-ups,’ he explained. ‘Soccer is about the same timeline.’
For a game to run smoothly, many things need to be taken into account.
Seemingly little things, such as making sure that the lines are down and the flags are up, become increasingly important.
‘I had an occasion where everything was done except the flag was not up. There was a building across the river that you could see that had a huge American flag on it, so we just directed everybody’s attention over there,’ Fulton said with a laugh.
So when he is not singing the national anthem, or scrambling to find a flag, Fulton is happy to make sure that the floors are clean and the game goes on.
‘I enjoy doing it, I really do,’ he said. ‘I enjoy seeing an event from concept to fruition.’
Olivia Glynn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.