Huntington Prep with ‘smooth transition’ following Fulford departure

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The opportunity for Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford to join Missouri’s coaching staff as an assistant came as no surprise to Fulford’s staff.

A look at Fulford’s numbers with Huntington Prep do all of the talking — 138-17 over five years with Huntington Prep, along with an 81-14 record at Mountain State Academy from 2006-2009.

“My initial reaction is that it’s long overdue,” said Huntington Prep assistant Ryan Arrowood. “You’ve got to feel happy for a guy like Rob who has paid his dues and been passed over on a few positions that I think people will probably end up regretting. I’m just happy for him – he’s done amazing things and he has definitely earned the opportunity that he is getting.”

Fulford kept his coaching staff in the loop heading into his interview with Missouri and head coach Kim Anderson.

“He talked to all of us and let us know he would be doing an interview,” Arrowood said. “When he talked to me, it was ‘I’m going to go listen to them, I think it’s a great situation. And then if I’m offered a job, I’ll evaluate to see where it stands.’

“Anyone that knows Rob, knows that he’s an extremely proud person and that Huntington Prep is his baby,” Arrowood said. “It wasn’t an easy decision for him to leave – he’s kind of been president and CEO of this thing since it started. It was extremely difficult for him, but tough for him to say no to that with his family and where he has put himself into a position to have a great opportunity like that.”

Fulford’s longtime assistant Arkell Bruce will take over the reigns at Huntington Prep.

“Arkell has been with Rob for a lot of years,” Arrowood said. “We’ve had some experience of having to coach without Rob this past season (his wife was pregnant). Arkell will step right in – he’s one of the best skill-development people, in my opinion, in the country.

“It’s a very smooth transition for us,” he continued. “We hate to lose Rob, but as far as Huntington Prep goes, we’re ready to step right up and keep this thing rolling. We like to think that we’re stable enough that we can keep it going. We’ll meet as a staff and discuss roles going forward – as of right now, we don’t have any other changes.”

As for the future moving forward for WVU commitment Levi Cook who just finished his junior campaign with Huntington Prep?

“I’m very close with Levi and I spoke with him the day it was announced that Rob would be taking the job,” Arrowood said. “We’re prepared for two things with him this upcoming year — to make him a better player for us and to help us win a national championship and then get him ready to make an impact when he goes to West Virginia next year.

“With Rob leaving, in my opinion, nothing changes with that – the only way that would change is if Levi said something to us, but I haven’t heard any indication that it would change,” he said.

Likewise for the overall mindset of the Huntington Prep program as well.

“Huntington Prep will be here, we’re hoping to win a national championship next year – nothing has changed,” Arrowood said. “We’re excited for Rob and I’ll have to get some more black and gold in my wardrobe.”

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