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Old 06-27-2014, 08:12 PM   #1079
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Missouri’s Kim Anderson hires Andrew Wiggins’ former coach as final assistant

Missouri basketball coach Kim Anderson put the finishing touch on his coaching staff Monday, plucking Rob Fulford from Huntington Prep in West Virginia to be his third assistant.

Fulford founded Huntington Prep — where former Kansas star Andrew Wiggins played — in 2009, molding the program into one of the nation’s elite high school basketball teams. The Fighting Irish are 138-17 in five seasons under Fulford and finished third in the nation last season.

“It’s bittersweet for me,” Fulford said. “I’ve poured my heart and soul out here. I’m from West Virginia, so I’ve never left home. Just in speaking with (Anderson) on the phone early on in the process and once I made it to Columbia to do my interviews, there was just a feeling around town, a new excitement for Missouri basketball.”

He wanted to be part of it.

“I had never chased (a college position),” Fulford said. “I obviously have had a ton of opportunities to do that. I’ve had 40 Division I kids over the last eight years, so I’ve dealt with a lot of college coaches, but I’ve just never chased it. This was just a perfect fit.”

Fulford graduated from Marshall in 1997 and spent three seasons as an assistant at NAIA powerhouse Mountain State University.

After several years in the private sector as a pharmaceutical sales representative, Fulford returned to Mountain State Academy, a high school affiliated with the university, as the boys basketball coach during 2006-09.

Fulford, a native of Mullens, W. Va., went 81-14 in his three seasons at Mountain State Academy before founding Huntington Prep, which is affiliated with St. Joseph Central Catholic High School in Huntington, W. Va.

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Rob to the Mizzou family,” Anderson said in a release. “Rob is obviously an outstanding coach and he won at an incredible level at Huntington Prep. He is well-respected by his peers and will be a great asset to our program.”

Anderson went on to laud Fulford’s ability to build relationships with players.

“He gets the most out of his players because of those strong relationships, and that’s exactly what we were looking for as we went about completing our staff,” Anderson said.

During his five seasons at Huntington Prep, Fulford coached some of the nation’s top high school talent, including Wiggins and Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng.

Fulford’s current Huntington Prep team includes two of the nation’s top-ranked small forwards for the class of 2015, Thomas Bryant and Montaque Gill-Caesar.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.
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