Lewiston High School Athletic Director Jason Fuller, shown at the school’s football stadium in 2014, has been honored as the Athletic Administrator of the Year by the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
It’s rare that Lewiston High School Athletic Director Jason Fuller is at a loss for words, or that his authoritative voice shows any ounce of weakness.
But the boss of the Blue Devils’ athletic department was left speechless and emotional Thursday night when he was named the Athletic Administrator of the Year by the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
“It’s a huge honor,” Fuller, who has been the AD at Lewiston for a dozen years, said. “I mean, you look at so many people in the state that are so good at their job, and there are so many people that are deserving of recognition, to be singled out is just humbling and a little overwhelming.”
One of Fuller’s coaches added another word: deserving.
“He’s always been detailed. He thinks of everything,” longtime boys’ soccer coach and former girls’ basketball coach Mike McGraw said. “And I know that sometimes he kicks himself in the butt because he might have forgot this or forgot that, but when you have 33 sports, three seasons and it’s non-stop, the guy just works his butt off.
“He’s passionate about us, the sports, the coaches and the players. He always thinks, ‘Whatever happens, how does it reflect on the school on our community, students?’ He’s got the whole package of athletic director because he cares and he loves it.”
Fuller said it’s easy to care because he’s doing it at Lewiston, the school and community that shaped him.
“I’m lucky to be in Lewiston,” Fuller said. “I’ve been lucky to have two coaches, Skip Capone and Andy Dolloff were huge in my life. And you got a guy like Fern Masse or Paul Amnott, all those people built me and allowed me to get to where I am, and I’ve been blessed now that I’m at LHS as an AD that I’ve got amazing coaches. It’s easy to be good at your job when you have good coaches around. On top of it, and probably the most important thing, is I’ve got great kids around.”
“His primary focus is the kids, and the image that the athletics department portrays on Lewiston High School, on the kids and the community,” boys’ hockey coach Jamie Belleau said. “And he’s always putting those things first, meaning the athlete, the image, and how they conduct themselves. You can see that through the success the athletic program has had at Lewiston High School, and the impact that’s had on the school and the community. Obviously that’s been recognized by his peers, which is outstanding.”
There is a nomination process to get considered for the award, which is then voted on by MIAAA members. Fuller called just getting nominated an honor.
“It’s humbling; that’s the best word I can use,” Fuller said. “I’m completely taken aback by it and shocked that I won some award.”
McGraw said he’s not the least bit surprised that Fuller won the award, believing he’s been deserving in the past.
That multiple Blue Devils teams have found success in recent years has highlighted the job that Fuller has done, he estimated. But the seeds of those successes were sown thanks in part to Fuller, according to Belleau.
“Jason implemented a summer workout program five or six years ago,” Belleau said. “It’s available Mondays through Thursdays all summer long for all the athletes at Lewiston High School, and that would have never happened but for his leadership and his constant encouragement and support of the coaches to get on board with that.”
“If it’s possible to do a thing, it will get done,” McGraw said. “That’s the bottom line.”
McGraw’s boys’ soccer program benefited from Fuller’s help. When immigrants began moving to the city, with many students joining the soccer team, Fuller worked with the school’s administration to help those players become academically eligible and “making sure it was fair for everybody,” according to McGraw.
“I’m one person, one part of a team, and I think that we’ve done a good job of working together and building the athletic department as a whole,” Fuller said.
McGraw said Fuller’s job will only get harder, with the school in the process of building new athletic complexes for both fall and spring sports.
“He’s got to take two-thirds of the schedules and find another place for us to practice and to play,” McGraw said. “When you think of the job that he’s done, the job he’s got coming up is immense.”
“He doesn’t talk about the things he does, he just goes to work every day, rolls up his sleeves and gets the job done,” Belleau said. “And it’s people like me, and other coaches and other administrators and teachers at the school that recognize the impact he has, not only on the kids, but on the coaches, and how beneficial he is to all of us.”
Lewiston Athletic Director Jason Fuller gives words of encouragement to senior Cody Dussault following Lewiston’s 6-4 loss to Scarborough during the Class A state lacrosse championship in Portland in 2011.