Shannon Pulliam was looking for a job closer to his Clovis home.
Hoover High was seeking an end to the recent revolving door atop its football program.
Both appear to have gotten what they wanted.
The Patriots hired Pulliam this summer as their fifth football coach in the past seven seasons, bringing a veteran head coach back to Fresno Unified following a four-year run in Lemoore.
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“I’m really excited to be back at home in Fresno Unified and thankful for the opportunity Hoover has given me,” said Pulliam, who spent six seasons as coach at Sunnyside between 2004-2009. “I haven’t had a summer offseason off in over 20 years, so it was good to hang out with my kids and family and recharge a little. Then this opportunity arose, and I’m happy it did.”
Pulliam was on the market after resigning at Lemoore in the aftermath of being placed on administrative leave while being investigated by school officials for allegedly promoting a post-practice fight among teammates. It kept Pulliam – who went 35-13 with three West Yosemite League titles at Lemoore – from coaching the Tigers in the Central Section Division II final last season, a 45-19 loss to Ridgeview.
The incident didn’t stop Hoover athletic director Tim Carey from considering Pulliam as a replacement for Steve Nelson, who stepped down in June to become an assistant coach at Reedley College. Carey declined to address the incident specifically, but added “as a district, we have pretty high expectations when we hire coaches, and we think we’ve hired a good coach who will do well.”
As a district, we have pretty high expectations when we hire coaches, and we think we’ve hired a good coach who will do well.
Hoover athletic director Tim Carey on the hiring of Shannon Pulliam as the Patriots’ football coach
Pulliam rose to the top following two rounds of interviews.
“The deciding factor was definitely the experience,” Carey said. “He does a great job in the classroom as well as on the football field.”
The 51-year-old Pulliam takes over a program that’s gone 11-43 over the past five seasons under three coaches.
Pulliam arrives with a 76-65 career record and four league titles in 12 seasons, according to section historian Bob Barnett, following stops at Lemoore, Sunnyside and Sierra.
Pulliam said he would like to bring stability to a Hoover program that hasn’t had it since Pat Plummer ended his 24-year career as the Patriots coach in 2010.
“These kids are like sponges, and they want to do right by you,” Pulliam said. “I think if you show them love and support, they will do just about anything for you. They deserve someone to be here and stick around.”
I think if you show them love and support, they will do just about anything for you. They deserve someone to be here and stick around.
Shannon Pulliam, who will be Hoover’s fifth football coach in the past seven seasons.
Hoover last had a winning season in 2009 under Plummer, when it went 6-5, and has had only four winning records since 1999.
Times have gotten so tough for Hoover that it had to suspend its rivalry game against Bullard – dubbed the Battle of Barstow – because the Division-III Patriots were no longer competitive against the D-I Knights on the field. Bullard won the past 14 meetings in a series that started in 1963, according to Barnett, by an average margin of 27 points.
“Kids need continuity and some common ground,” Pulliam said. “This senior group is on its third head coach in four years. If we can bring some continuity and some energy and spunk, I think we can get it back on track.
“Our goal is to get that game back on. That’s not our only goal, but one of them. And, with a lot of hard work and commitment by the kids and staff and administration, I think we can accomplish that in the next couple of years.”
Pulliam is one of 26 new coaches around the section, including three others in the North Yosemite League: McLane’s Brian Roberson, Reedley’s Brandon Nagle and Roosevelt’s Atnaf Harris.
Hoover opens its season Aug. 26 by hosting Central Valley Christian.
Central Section football coaching changes
- Avenal: David Lewis
- Buchanan: Matt Giordano
- Bishop: Arnie Palu
- Central: Kyle Biggs
- Cesar Chavez: Jesse Ortega
- Clovis North: Casey Quinn
- Coalinga: Ronnie Redding
- Hoover: Shannon Pulliam
- Firebaugh: Dejon Kelly
- Fowler: Raul Diaz
- Fresno Christian: Russ Counts
- Kings Christian: Richard Webb
- Lemoore: Mitch Crossley
- Madera: Yosef Fares
- McLane: Brian Roberson
- Minarets: Becher Marr
- Mission Oak: Dave Flores
- Monache: Martin Nava
- Orange Cove: Jacob Huerta
- Parlier: Juan Gallegos
- Reedley: Brandon Nagle
- Roosevelt: Atnaf Harris
- Shafter: Jerald Pierucci
- Sierra: Kenny Rose
- West: Derrick Dunham
- Wasco: Mike Rowland