Gayle Coats Fulks — Head Coach
Gayle Coats Fulks became Davidson's 12th women's basketball head coach on May 10, 2017. She enters her second season at the helm of the Davidson women's basketball program.
"It is a dream come true to be named the next head women’s basketball coach at Davidson,” commented Coats Fulks at her press conference on May 10. “I want to thank President Quillen and Jim Murphy for the opportunity to join this amazing community. I believe that Davidson has the perfect fusion of genuine and dedicated people, prestigious academics, and top-notch facilities to achieve a high level of success on and off the court. I will work tirelessly to create a culture of excellence in everything that we do. I cannot wait to get started. Go Wildcats!”
“Gayle understands the opportunities and relationships of a high-academic Division I environment,” said Murphy. “She has been recognized by her peers for her commitment to the scholar-athlete experience and her ability to recruit and develop players. We welcome Gayle and her husband Ryan to the Davidson community.”
It was a solid first year for Coats Fulks as a head coach at Davidson during the 2017-18 season. The Wildcats doubled their win total from the previous season by going 12-18 overall and a program-best 7-9 in Atlantic 10 play. Coats Fulks earned her first career coaching victory with a 70-57 triumph at Western Carolina, Nov. 10. She became the third Wildcat head coach in the program's 39-year history to start a career with a win. It was also Davidson's 10th straight win in the series vs. the Catamounts.
Along the way, other highlights included a home opening win vs. UNC Asheville, a thrilling win at High Point by overcoming a 19-point third-quarter deficit and a victory against cross-county rival Charlotte that snapped an eight-game losing streak in the series. Davidson set a new road winning streak mark in A-10 games, running off a three-game streak with wins at Richmond, St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island.
During Coats Fulks first season, she saw senior Mackenzie Latt go over 1,500 career points and end her career third all-time in scoring to go with a second place finish in rebounds and made field goals. Latt was named to the A-10 All-Third Team, while Katie Turner earned a spot on the league's all-rookie team. Turner also set the single season record for made three-pointers with 75. Justine Lyon became the 20th Wildcat to reach 1,000 career points during Coats Fulks first season as well.
Coats Fulks came to Davidson from Wake Forest University, where she spent five years as an assistant coach under Jen Hoover. The last two seasons while there, 2015-16 & 2016-17, Wake Forest earned at-large bids to the Women’s NIT, reaching the second round both seasons during Coats Fulks tenure.
During the 2016-17 season, the Demon Deacons went 17-16 overall and earned a win over Bethune-Cookman in the first round of the WNIT before falling to Middle Tennessee State to end their season. Guard Alex Sharp became the second student-athlete under Coats Fulks to be named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman Team, joining fellow teammate Ariel Stephenson who garnered the award a year ago from the Blue Ribbon Panel and the league's coaches.
In addition to helping the Demon Deacons to consecutive NIT appearances the last two seasons, Coats Fulks was recognized during the 2015-16 campaign as one of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WBCA) Thirty Under 30 honorees. The award is given annually to up-and-coming coaches 30 years old and younger, to recognize their involvement in community service, mentorship and impact on others' professional manner and attitude as well as association involvement.
While on the bench for Head Coach Jen Hoover the last five seasons, Coats Fulks assisted in all aspects of the program, from academics to recruiting, where she served as an integral part to the Demon Deacons putting together ranked recruiting classes each year on staff.
In her first season with the Deacs, she helped guide one of the top-scoring backcourts in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Point guard Chelsea Douglas led the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game, while Lakevia Boykin was right behind her at 14.4 points. The two combined to make 134 three-pointers on the season, with Douglas' 72 ranking as the third-most for a single-season in school history.
Coats Fulks joined the Wake Forest staff after one season as an assistant coach at UNC Greensboro in 2011-12. With the Spartans, Coats Fulks assisted with academics, recruiting, scouting, game preparation and practice planning, along with player development. She also served as the team's academic liaison.
Coats Fulks broke into the coaching ranks at Longwood University, where she was on staff from 2007-11. In her first season with the Lancers, they went 16-13, notching the program's best win total in its Division I era at the time.
Prior to her first collegiate job, Coats Fulks served as the Assistant Video Coordinator during the 2007 season for the WNBA's New York Liberty, where she assisted with scouting reports and film exchange.
A four-year letterwinner at Fairleigh Dickinson, Coats Fulks was a co-captain and member of the Northeast Conference All-Academic squad. She graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management.