Harley Fuller wanted his next job to be the one that started his college head-coaching career.
The former Section II standout and Siena men’s basketball assistant coach has just that at Mohawk Valley Community College, a program that last played when it competed in the 2020 NJCAA Division III National Championship game.
“I’ve just always wanted to lead my own college program,” Fuller said Thursday during an interview with The Daily Gazette. “That’s been a goal of mine, to be a successful college head coach.”
Mohawk Valley Community College announced Fuller’s hire Wednesday. Already, the Fultonville resident who starred at Broadalbin-Perth High School has been starting to form relationships with his Utica-based program’s returning players and beginning work on recruiting the team’s next wave of players.
“Playing an exciting brand of basketball,” Fuller said is his vision for the Mohawk Valley Community College program’s on-court product. “Being able to pressure and play with a lot of energy and passion. I’m a high-energy guy, so I want to recruit guys that have that same level of enthusiasm and want to get better every day.
He added: “We’re going to be talking a lot about being 1% better every day.”
A Gloversville native, the 32-year-old Fuller starred at SUNY Cobleskill before playing at Florida International and Molloy College. He played five seasons of professional basketball, and has had a range of experiences coaching the sport. Fuller coached at the high school level with Mayfield High School, in the AAU ranks with the Albany City Rocks, and spent time on coaching staffs at Mount St. Mary’s and Siena College.
Fuller shifted from Mount St. Mary’s to Siena when Jamion Christian left the head-coaching position at the Maryland-based school to take the same job for the Saints’ program in Loudonville. Fuller spent Christian’s season at Siena as the director of basketball operations, then was an assistant coach the last two seasons for current Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello.
Fuller said he gained a lot of knowledge and experience working for both Christian and Maciariello, in particular with learning more about recruiting, organization and developing relationships with players.
“Being able to work for Jamion and Carmen, I was able to take some of their attributes and implement that into this opportunity,” said Fuller, who left Siena’s coaching staff in late March after helping the Saints to back-to-back regular-season MAAC championships.
Fuller said he had interest in several coaching opportunities since leaving Siena, but the opening at Mohawk Valley Community College was of particular interest for him based on the recommendation of Kevin McCarthy, who coached Fuller at SUNY Cobleskill.
“The school had a commitment to winning and provides all the resources needed to be successful,” Fuller said of Mohawk Valley Community College, which finished 30-3 in the 2019-20 campaign under the leadership of coach Matt St. Croix before not competing last season because of restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Calling it a “perfect opportunity,” Fuller said he knows he is taking over a program capable of high-level success.
“This is the right place at the right time for me,” Fuller said.