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Fuller named Axemen's first coach

Robert Fulller was introduced as the first-ever coach of the Bemidji Axemen on Monday at a press conference at the Sanford Center. Photo by Monte Draper.

BEMIDJI — Bemidji Axemen president Chris Kokalis has hired Robert Fuller as the first head coach of Bemidji’s Indoor Football League team.

Fuller’s hiring was announced during a press conference Monday at the Sanford Center.

“This is a wonderful day in Axemen and northern Minnesota history,” Kokalis said. “Make no mistake, this (Bemidji) is no ordinary expansion franchise. (Fuller’s) expectations are to come here and win. During the process we spent many hours talking to him and we have found the guy who will get the job done.”

Fuller’s resume includes eight years of coaching indoor football, six of them as a head coach.

His most recent indoor football coaching stint was in 2012 and 2013 when he led Green Bay to a 12-8 record and the 2012 United Conference Championship.

Fuller was named the Indoor Football League Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and during those seasons he also was awarded the Adam Pringle Award which is bestowed to a coach who also is a leader in the community.

This fall, Fuller also was the offensive line coach at U-Mary and on Saturday afternoon he was on the sidelines at Chet Anderson Stadium when the Marauders defeated Bemidji State 26-17.

“It was tough to leave (U-Mary) and the mission we are on but it’s an honor to be named the Axemen’s first coach,” Fuller said. “My expectations are to put a highly competitive team on the field and bring in high character young men.

“We will work hard to find players who will choose to be part of the Axemen family and the Bemidji community.”

Fuller’s indoor football head coaching experience began in 2004 with the team in Kearney, Neb. He inherited a team that was 4-10 and in his first season, the squad improved to 11-3 and won the Pacific South Division.

In 2005, Fuller became the head coach and general manager of the Omaha franchise, and during his two seasons, the Omaha Beef won 17 games.

“We want to be a team that plays physical football every time we step onto the field,” Fuller said.

Fuller’s background in indoor football is complimented by his familiarity with the college game, especially the NSIC where U-Mary and Bemidji State play. And he will use his knowledge of the indoor and the college game to recruit the right players.

“It is very beneficial to have experience with both (college and indoor football),” Fuller said. “You do have a sense of who will make the transition and adapt to the indoor game. Playing indoors is very different than playing outdoors.

“The player also has to be the type of young man who will do well in this environment (Bemidji),” Fuller continued.

Fuller and his staff will hold a player tryout in the Twin Cities sometime in November. A similar tryout is planned for January in Bemidji.

“We know that there are many great football players in the state and we would like to get some of them in Bemidji,” Fuller added.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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