USC Coach Continues to Pursue His Passions
Head Assistant Coach Wes Fulkerson had always wanted to wrestle. Failing to take the initiative, he instead grew up playing more traditional sports: soccer, volleyball and baseball. At the start of his sophomore year, though Fulkerson decided to join his high schoolís wrestling team. The sport didnít come naturally to Fulkerson, and he spent most of his first season fighting off his back.
Despite the initial hardships, Fulkerson stuck with the sport. He trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and attended wrestling camps after his first season. After a summer of four-hour workouts and plenty of hard runs, Fulkersonís hard work paid off, and he made the varsity squad by the start of his junior year.
Injuries prevented Fulkerson from reaching the California State Championships, but he was still named team captain his senior year. ďI donít have any regrets from my competitive career, I just wish that it had been longer,Ē reminisced Fulkerson.
Upon graduating from Granite Hills High School in 2009, Fulkerson attended the University of Southern California. USC didnít have a wrestling program at that time, so Fulkerson was forced to leave the sport behind. He graduated in three years with honors, earning a degree in marketing from the Marshall School of Business.
After graduating from USC, Fulkerson joined the coaching staff of the newly formed USC wrestling team as the head assistant coach. Despite having been away from the sport for over three years, Fulkerson jumped into the role, leading practices, scheduling meets and recruiting athletes. He led the team to a 4th place finish at the NCWA West Coast Conference championships in 2013, despite only taking six athletes to the tournament. Fulkersonís USC squad also sent two wrestlers to the NCWA national championships, where the team took 45th out of 90 teams.
Wes Fulkersonís coaching responsibilities donít stop just at his alma mater. He also coaches through Beat the Streets Los Angeles, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing wrestling to underfunded middle schools across sprawling greater Los Angeles. Fulkerson coaches 5th-8th graders at nearby Stella Middle Charter Academy four times a week. His Stella team crushed the competition at their first tournament, handily coming in first place as a team. Fulkerson cherishes the opportunities to work with young athletes:
ďI get to be a strong male presence for kids who might not have that. Itís so cool working with these kids. I know it might sound clichť, but I sometimes feel like they teach me more than I teach them.Ē
Between his two coaching jobs, Fulkerson is a busy man. Despite that, he also maintains a budding career as a singer/songwriter. A true Renaissance man, heís also written three full-length novels. Safe to say, Fulkersonís schedule is packed. But he doesnít intend to get away from wrestling any time soon. ďAs long as Iím healthy and have a place to coach, Iím going to stick around. Wrestling is a hard sport to get away from.Ē