Past & Present | The Express
The annual Wales-Lincoln Alumni Banquet is Saturday, with a focus on the Class of 1947 holding its 70th year reunion, the Class of 1957 holding its 60th year reunion, and the Fuller family receiving the alumni recognition.
Additionally, it was 100 years ago, in 1917, when the first Wales-Lincoln Consolidated schoolhouse was built, after a consolidation proposal passed by a single vote. The school opened in 1918, according to information published in this year’s alumni reunion program, compiled by Eddie Barnett of Red Oak.
The school became known for its excellent basketball teams under the coaching of school superintendent Everett F. Fuller, from his arrival in the fall of 1943. For the next 17 years – until the closing of the high school in 1960 and consolidation with Red Oak – there was always a Fuller family member on either the girls or boys basketball teams.
Everett Fuller coached through the 1952-53 season. Everett Fuller, Jr., played 1944-48; Bruce Fuller played 1946-1950; Sandra (Fuller) Rea played 1948-1952; Maurice Fuller played 1951-1955; Karen (Fuller) Mellott played 1952-1956; Dick Fuller played 1954-1958; and Judy (Fuller) Thomas played 1956-1960.
Coach Fuller’s record was 389-62 before he stepped down after coaching both the boys and girls teams while serving as superintendent. He died in 1955 at the age of 52.
Dick Fuller has written the Fuller family’s acceptance speech for the alumni recognition, and it will be presented Saturday night.
Barnett, with the help of others, continues to compile history from the school’s athletics and other history. Included in this year’s alumni booklet is a story from the Omaha World Herald by Howard Brantz about the end of the Fuller era, 1960, when the team on which Judy played qualified for the state tournament.
Perhaps no one was a better witness to the prowess of the Wales ball teams than venerable Red Oak Express sports writer, the late Jim Logan. Here is a story Logan wrote for the Red Oak Express, published Jan. 31, 1952. We have preserved the copy as written to keep with the style of the time.
The 1952 article:
Most schools would welcome the problem facing Supt. Everett F. Fuller of Wales-Lincoln Consolidated School. The school’s trophy case is full and overflowing and still the trophies keep rolling in.
And few schools can equal the won and lost record for the Wales basketball teams under the coaching of Supt. Fuller.
With more trophies on hand than be crammed into the trophy case, that problem will be solved by next school year since two trophy cases are to be built and will be placed inside the enntrance of the school’s new gym, now being used for the third season.
But let’s go back to that coaching record.
When Everett Fuller came to Wales in the school year of 1943-44, the school’s basketball teams averaged poor to mediocre. That situation changed immediately under the guidance of Fuller.
For the eight seasons he had completed at the Wales helm up until the start of this season his girls teams had won 134 regular season games and lost 11, had won 17 county tournament games and lost two, had won 18 sectional tournament games and lost four, had won four district tournament tests and lost the same number, and in their lone state tourney venture they dropped the opening game.
During that stretch, the girls copped six county titles, four sectional championships and one district tournament. They had compiled a regular season victory percentage of 92.4 and a tournament victory mark of 78 percent.
Heading into sectional tournament play this season the girls had won nine and lost seven in the regular season and they added two county tournament wins to notch their seventh county tournament in nine starts.
And it isn’t only the girls that play basketball at Wales. The boys record is nearly as enviable and the current edition of the Wolves is rated among the southwest Iowa leaders.
For the eight seasons leading up to the present, Coach Fuller’s boys had won 138 and lost 16 regular games, had copped 19 county tournament wins while losing two games, won nine sectional tournament games and lost five, had a two-and-two record in district play and had lost their only substate contest.
In his eight seasons at Wales previous to the current campaign the boys won five county titles, three sectional championships and one district crown. They had a regular season victory percentage of 90.2 and a tournament mark of 75 percent.
Including their county tournament trophies this season, Fuller’s boys and girls have combined for 22 first place trophies and five consolation pieces of hardware since he became coach in the 1943-44 season.
The high school student body in that time averaged around 50.
A graduate of Kimball County, Neb., high school at Kimball, Fuller graduated from 1927 from Peru Teachers College and ever since has been in the teaching game with the exception of two years he missed during the depression.
Before coming to Wales as superintendent and coach he was on the faculty at Arcadia and Otoe in Nebraska, Thurman, Bartlett and Oakland in Iowa. At Otoe and Thurman he served as superintendent. At neither of those places did he coach, but he has at the other schools, including football chores at both Arcadia and Oakland.
Mrs. (Mildred) Fuller is also a teacher and for the past three years has been on the Wales faculty.
The Fullers have seven children. They are Junior, 21; Bruce, 20; Sandra, 17; Maurice, 15; Karen, 14; Dick, 11; and Judith, 9.
A major problem for Fuller is scheduling games. Wales is not a member of any conference and with that great record of victories behind him a number of area schools steer clear of the “Wizard of Wales” and his clubs.