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UT Facilities Director Coordinates From Behind Scenes

 

Jerome Fulton has been working at the University of Tampa for 31 years. | Andy Meng/Sports Information

The University of Tampa has 20 sports in total. While the sports are split between the fall, winter and spring, multiple sports are running during each season. While watching the soccer games, I’m sure you’ve never thought about who comes out and paints the lines on the field or who pulls the bleachers out at basketball and volleyball games.
These are duties that fall upon Jerome Fulton, UT’s Facilities Director. That title is misleading though because while Fulton’s job does entail maintaining the facilities and keeping them immaculate, a large role he plays is in event production and coordination.

Student athletes, like Alexa DellaRocco on the women’s soccer team, recognize the role that Fulton plays in making sure they have a safe surface ready for each game.
“He has to do the behind the scenes work like tying down the goals, making sure the lines on the field are correct, making sure there’s no potholes in the middle of the field. He does a great job; he’s worked really well with our team,” DellaRocco said.

Fulton does this for almost every event at each venue, arriving two hours before each game to make sure everything is ready for the game. Then, Fulton must stick around during the game to make sure things are running smoothly.

“If something breaks or something malfunctions, I may not have all the expertise, but I have a phone number I can call of someone I know,” Fulton said.
What makes his position challenging at times is that Fulton is the only full-time member of the facilities staff, so he relies on assistance from students. “Normally, everything is student-produced, under my direction.

We have a great sport management program here and it’s a chance for some of those students to get experience without having to go off-campus,” Fulton said. Two of those students this semester are Kunal Desai, a graduate student, and Brooke Hanna, a senior sport management major.

“I haven’t seen such a nice supervisor in a long time. If you don’t know how to do something, he will do it with you. He doesn’t have an ego, he’s fun to be around and he’ll teach you. He has a good heart,” Desai said.

For Hanna, who is pursuing a career in event coordination, her experience with Fulton has helped her gain a greater appreciation for the role it plays. “[Just] realizing how much time and effort it is to put on an event.

You don’t realize how much is actually put into an event until you are the one working it,” Hanna said. “Jerome is the nicest manager you could ever want. We just try to help [him] in any way we can to make his time easier so he doesn’t have to do everything.”

Fulton has been at UT for 31 years. Fulton began by running the post office and then the facilities position became available. Fulton had no prior facilities experience, but they knew him and decided to take a chance. “[I had] no sport management background, but in the 25 years or so I’ve been doing it, I’ve probably gained a few textbooks worth of knowledge,” Fulton said.

Another challenge now is the construction currently underway on Bob Martinez Sports Center.

“Right now, we’re not doing as good a job as we need to. It’s confusing to everyone that doesn’t work here,” Fulton said. “It’s scheduled to be over soon— possibly mid-November we should be walking in unobstructed—which will make it a whole lot easier.”

Fulton has helped plan and coordinate all kinds of events in his time at UT. However, the one event that sticks out was when President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden held a town hall meeting at Martinez. “That is rare, that you ever get a sitting president and vice president in the same room, for security reasons. I got to be involved in a good portion of the planning and the execution of that event.”

For students looking to get into facilities, they need to understand that the hours are long. On a non-game day, Fulton works the regular 8:30 or 9 to 5. However, on a night with a game, he could be here for regular office hours until 10 p.m. or later.

“It helps if it’s more than just a paycheck and it’s something that you like doing. I love sports. I love participating, spectating and now I love coordinating.”

April Weiner can be reached at April.Weiner@spartans.ut.edu.

3 Comments on UT Facilities Director Coordinates From Behind Scenes

  1. There’s nothing that “Division 1?” mentioned about re-starting a football program. I don’t think it would be a good idea due to the Bucs and Bulls in a city the size of Tampa. But there’s nothing to suggest that UT can’t consider a Division 1 move into other sports while omitting a football program (unless it’s a NCAA rule which I’m not familiar with). Stating that the program didn’t work over thirty years ago is a failed argument especially given UT’s expansion. Filling a football stadium is vastly different than filling a basketball arena.

    I think it’s a good idea.

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  2. UT was already once a DI school. The lack of fan support makes it virtually impossible to financially support DI facilities and scholarships. Go back and look how much money the football program lost when they jumped to DI and tried to play in Tampa Stadium.

    Then UT President B.D. Owens said the school would face bankruptcy if they continued to try to support a DI football program. Football vanished in ’74.

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  3. Divison 1? // November 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm //

    First off- many thanks to the Facilities Director. He’s been instrumental to UT’s athletic growth and his dedication to the university should be noticed. Secondly, due to UT’s growth in the number of sports that we compete in and do well in (way to go Cross Country and Volleyball- finish strong!), UT should start thinking about moving up into Division 1. Such a move will be great for the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community. Let’s start talking about it!

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