E.A. Sports Today

Weaver moves

Bearcats turn to Cofer, Jax State graduate and long-time coach in Georgia, for football. Fulmer promoted to lead softball program. Coaching hirings at Pleasant Valley, White Plains and Wellborn also approved.

New Weaver head softball coach Andy Fulmer (center) poses with daughter and pitcher Kynlee Fulmer and Weaver principal Tracy Frazier after Andy Fulmer’s promotion to head coach was approved at Tuesday’s Calhoun County Board of Education meeting. (Photo by Joe Medley)

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

Weaver has a veteran new head football coach with lots of playoff experience, and a familiar face will take over the softball program.

The Calhoun County Board of Education on Tuesday voted to approve the hiring of Kenneth Cofer as Weaver’s next head football coach and promote head wrestling coach and softball/football assistant Andy Fulmer to head softball coach.

Both men will replace Gary Atchley, recently hired at Jacksonville to become head softball coach and a football assistant.

The board also approved the following head-coach hirings and promotions:

–Dalton Turner, from interim head baseball coach to head baseball coach at Pleasant Valley.

–Blake Muncher, Pleasant Valley girls’ basketball.

–Lex Hull-Muncher, Blake’s wife, from interim head softball coach to head coach at White Plains.

–Clay Sprayberry, from interim head girls’ basketball coach to head coach at White Plains.

–Todd Lumpkin, Wellborn boys’ basketball.

–Ashlon Dempsey, Wellborn girls’ basketball

Kenneth Cofer is shown while coaching at Dodge County (Ga.). He has been hired to be Weaver High’s new head football coach. (Submitted poto)

Cofer was one of 28 applicants and six finalists, new Weaver principal Tracy Brazier said. Brazier consulted two current assistants, Fulmer and Jeremy Harper.

“I spoke with them on what their desires were, what they were looking for in a head coach and what we need here at Weaver,” Brazier said. “They gave me lists of things to look for, and Mr. Cofer was able to cross off literally everything on that list, from both sides.”

Cofer served as Cleburne County’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons after five head-coaching stints in Georgia: Cook High School (2010-14), Bacon County High School (2014-16), Dodge County High School (2016-18 and 2019-21) and Wilcox County High School (2018-19).

He also served as Cook’s offensive coordinator from 2005-09.

He was part of 10 playoff teams, with quarterfinal appearances as Cook’s offensive coordinator in 2005 and 2009 and as Cook’s head coach in 2010.

His Cook team beat Rush Propst’s Colquitt County team in the 2010 opener, Cofer’s first game as a head coach.

Cofer’s teams were top 10 in Georgia AA in scoring in 2010, 2012 and 2015. The 2014 and 2015 Bacon County teams broke the school season scoring record.

Cofer said he came up in a wing-T, two-back offense but transitioned to more of a Tennessee-style “air raid” type of offense. As for what he’ll do at Weaver, it depends on the talent he inherits.

Getting a June start with his new team could impact what he does in his first season.

In the bigger picture, Weaver wants to get back to winning ways. After making the playoffs eight times in nine years under Daryl Hamby, the Bearcats have won three games in four years under two different head coaches.

Cofer inherited a similar situation at Wilcox County. That program won a state title with former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall but had not made the playoffs for six years when Cofer came along. He took them to the playoffs in his first season.

In a move he said he “kind of regrets,” he went back to Dodge County.

“I probably should’ve stayed at Wilcox County,” he said. “I felt at home. I’m just drawn to those smaller-school jobs, but I kind of fell for the money thing, just to be honest.”

Daughter Kayly graduated, and Cofer retired from Georgia after 25 total years as an assistant and head coach. The 1994 Jacksonville State University graduate followed a lead to Cleburne County. His wife Stacy is from Heflin and teaches seventh grade social studies at Cleburne County Middle School.

He came back as a position coach but was elevated to offensive coordinator. After two years, he said, “the leadership bug kind of bit me a little bit.”

“I just wanted to be a head coach again and lead my own program,” he said. “That’s what it came down to.”

As for Fulmer, Brazier called the veteran coach’s promotion in softball a “no-brainer.”

Andy Fulmer, talking with Madison Atchley at first base, will move across the diamond to third base next season, as Weaver’s head softball coach. (Submitted photo)

“Hands down, it wasn’t even questionable for me,” Brazier said.

Fulmer has won consecutive state wrestling titles at Weaver, each of the past two seasons. He also established the school’s girls’ wrestling program.

He’s served as an assistant in softball for five years, covering the time that daughter and rising senior pitcher Kynlee Fulmer has been in the program.

Andy Fulmer got involved in coaching softball when his daughter played 10-under ball. She took a line drive off of her mask and shoulder, and it required popping her dislocated jaw back in place.

“My wife and I always said, one of us will always be there, just in case,” Andy Fulmer said. “We don’t want her to be there by herself, obviously.

“When she tried out and made the high school team, Gary asked me to come on board.”

Fulmer will inherit a group that returns six juniors that helped Weaver make regional for the second time ever this past season.

“It’s not like wrestling, when I took over,” he said. “That was kind of a rebuild. Coach (Gene) Taylor had a bunch of seniors. I’m not having to rebuild in softball. Gary did a real good job of keeping the girls plugged in and worked them really hard in the summertime. …

“We can just reload and refocus and go back at it again.”

Cover photo: Weaver principal Tracy Brazier poses with the Bearcats’ new head football coach, Kenneth Cofer, during Tuesday’s Calhoun County Board of Education meeting. (Photo by Joe Medley)

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