Long is looking forward to the challenge at Fulton

By Steve Williams

It wasn’t a surprise to many to see Justin Long fill the head football coaching position at Fulton High School.

He went to high school at FHS, played for the Falcons and was a longtime assistant coach and then offensive coordinator at his alma mater.

Fulton announced Thursday that Long was the school’s new head coach. The position opened when Jeff McMillan stepped down in November.

Long had left Fulton and taken the Grace Christian Academy head job in 2021.

Thursday was an emotional, yet exciting day for Long.

“I will be at Grace until Christmas break and will start at Fulton in January,” said Long Friday. “I am excited to be at a program that has the history and tradition that Fulton has. Grace gave me my first opportunity as a Head Coach. I will always be thankful for that.”

Long met with the GCA players first Thursday afternoon and then the Fulton squad just a little later.

He said leaving Grace Christian was very difficult and emotional. At Fulton, he said the challenge ahead was exciting.

Fulton’s program has slipped since Rob Black resigned after the 2021 season. The Falcons were 4-7 in 2022 and 2-9 this past season, and haven’t gone beyond the second round in the playoffs since 2016.

Long played on Fulton’s first state championship team in 2003. He was on the Falcons’ coaching staff when they won state titles in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

In Long’s three seasons at GCA, the Eagles were 1-8 in 2021, 4-7 in 2022 and 3-7 this fall.

Fulton Executive Principal Seth Smith said: “The future of Fulton football is in great hands with Justin Long taking over our program. As a former player and coach, he understands the significance of being the head coach at Fulton. I am beyond thrilled that Justin is coming home and I’m looking forward to the impact he will have on the school and community.”

Said Fulton AD Jody Wright: “Justin is a high character man who has always represented our school and community well.”