Members of the Long County community came out Friday to pay their respects and honor former Blue Tide coach and educator Raymond I. Fulcher.
The ceremony took place prior to the Blue Tide’s game against Pierce County on the baseball field that already bears Fulcher’s name.
Former player Mike McGowan welcomed everyone to the gathering, and Blue Diamond Club spokesperson Becky Fowler unveiled a sign that showed two pictures of the former coach and noted his 25 years of coaching.
In addition to friends and former players who attended the ceremony, Fulcher’s life partner, retired educator Janet Watford, also was present.
“Nobody knows how proud he would have been for what they have done for him today. He got to enjoy the field (named after him) for several years, and he loved to come out here for the games,” Watford said.
McGowan also spoke highly of his former coach and mentor, who died Feb. 26, 2010.
“He was a good coach and a good teacher, but to so many in this community, he was much more than that,” McGowan said. “As humble as he was, he would have fussed at us for doing all of this with the sign and the field, but he deserved it all.”
In addition to the sign, a plaque was presented to Watford from Fowler on behalf of the community and the Blue Diamond Club, which is the booster club for the Blue Tide baseball team.
Fulcher began teaching in Long County in 1954 and taught for 31 years. In addition to teaching, Fulcher also served as the chairman of the Long County Board of Education. He coached the girls’ basketball team for 12 years and the baseball team for 25 years.
As the baseball coach, Fulcher led the Blue Tide to the region championship eight times and made the Final Four in the state playoffs four times. In 1969 and 1971, Fulcher led the Long County team to the state championship game, finishing both times as the runner-up.
In 2005, Fulcher was honored with the establishment of the Raymond I. Fulcher Annual Scholarship Fund and the baseball field at Long County High School was named after him.