Tigers hire Adam Fuller as new defensive coordinator

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Adam Fuller, who spent the previous six seasons at Marshall, has signed an agreement to become the defensive coordinator at the University of Memphis, Tigers head coach Mike Norvell announced Saturday.

Fuller served as the Thundering Herd’s defensive coordinator in 2018. He also was Chattanooga’s defensive coordinator from 2009-12.

“We are so very excited about the addition of Adam Fuller to the Memphis Tigers football family,” Norvell said. “Adam is one of the top defensive minds in college football and has been part of developing some of college football’s top defensive units throughout his career.

“Coach Fuller will bring an aggressive and detailed approach to our Memphis defense. It will put our student-athletes in positions to showcase all their skills and talents, while also being developed at the highest level.”

In 2018, Marshall ranked in the Football Bowl Subdivision’s (FBS) top-35 in more than 30 defensive categories, including ranking ninth in rushing defense (104.2), eighth in total sacks (42) and 16thin takeaways (24). Fuller’s defense was one of just three in the nation (Clemson, Northern Illinois) to not allow a 100-yard rusher in any of its games in 2018. Seven of his players earned Conference USA postseason honors this year.

From 2013-17, Fuller served as the Herd’s assistant head coach and special teams coordinator. In 2013, Marshall had the nation’s most improved scoring defense since 1998. That team won the Conference USA East Division title and won the 2013 Military Bowl.

In 2014, the Herd posted a 13-1 record, won the Boca Raton Bowl and finished the year ranked No. 22 in the Associated Press (AP) poll. Fuller’s three specialists claimed All-Conference USA first team honors, and linebacker Neville Hewitt earned the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Hewitt went on to make the Miami Dolphins’ roster as an undrafted free agent, while teammate Jermaine Holmes earned a spot on the New York Jets’ roster.

In 2015, linebacker Evan McKelvey received the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year honor, making it back-to-back years the Herd took the award back to Huntington, W.Va. The 2015 Herd squad went 10-3 and won the St. Petersburg Bowl.

In 2017, the Marshall defense ranked 18th in total defense (341.7 ypg), 20thin rushing defense (125.4 ypg) and 10th in red zone defense (.732). Marshall went 8-5 and won the New Mexico Bowl. In 2018, Fuller moved from coaching linebackers to safeties and also assumed the defensive coordinator title.

Prior to his time at Marshall, Fuller served as the Chattanooga defensive coordinator and recruited the states of Florida, Georgia and Tennessee from 2009-12. While there, the Mocs sent four players to the NFL in Buster Skrine, Chris Lewis-Harris, Davis Tull and Derrick Lott. Fuller’s 2009 defense was the Football Championship Subdivision’s (FCS) most improved total defense, allowing only 25.7 points and 307.7 yards per game. The previous campaign (2008) before Fuller arrived, Chattanooga allowed 37.9 points and 442.5 yards per contest.

A former linebacker for Sacred Heart University, Fuller got his start in coaching as the linebackers coach at NCAA Division III Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After a season there, he moved to Wagner College in 1999. In 2001, Fuller was elevated to the Seahawks’ special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach, and in 2004, he assumed the co-defensive coordinator title.

In 2005, Fuller joined the staff at the University of Richmond and helped the Spiders win the 2005 Atlantic 10 (A-10) Conference and 2007 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) crowns. The 2005 Richmond squad advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals, and the 2007 team made it to the FCS national semifinals. After coaching the defensive backs in 2005, Fuller spent 2006 and 2007 as the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach. Under Fuller’s guidance, three Spiders – Tim Hightower, Lawrence Sidbury and Justin Rogers – were drafted by the NFL, and Joshua Vaughan signed as an undrafted free agent.

Fuller left Richmond to become the head coach at NCAA Division II Assumption College in 2008, before returning to the FCS level at Chattanooga.

A native of Lowell, Mass., Fuller was a four-year letter winner at Sacred Heart University from 1994-97, earning Football GazetteAll-America honors at linebacker in 1996 and serving as team captain in 1997. He received his bachelor’s degree from Sacred Heart in criminal justice with a minor in sociology in 1998. He also earned a master’s in secondary education from Wagner in 2001.

Fuller and his wife, Hope, have two sons, Jack and Aidan.

“Adam, his wife, Hope, and their two sons, Jack and Aidan, will be a tremendous addition to the city of Memphis. We are glad to bring them into our wonderful community and to see them come in and help us elevate our defense and program into one of the nation’s elite,” Norvell said.

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