March 27, 2024

By Rebecca Mohr, Capital University Communications Manager

Fulks Dominates the Sidelines: A Leader in Action

Juli Fulks ’00 understands the connection between academia and athletics, leveraging insights from both domains to drive innovation and excellence. With two decades of experience as a women’s basketball coach, the 2024 WBCA NCAA Division III Coach of the Year has continuously found a way to embody the dedication and passion needed to lead both in and outside of the classroom.

“[The award] is a reflection of how good our team is and has been for a long time. I appreciate that everybody recognizes the collective efforts that go into [the game], but ultimately, the players deserve all the credit,” said Fulks. “We have a great administration and I can’t say enough good things about the people that I’m surrounded with at Transylvania. I like working with all types of people that are passionate about things.”

In March 2024, Fulks completed her tenth season as the head coach of the Transylvania University women's basketball team. The team's journey in the NCAA Division III Tournament Final Four at Capital concluded with the end of their winning streak against NYU. Fulks, who has always held a deep love for the game, has observed a noticeable rise in its popularity in recent years.

“There have been very different perceptions on how these things evolve, but the piece that we always knew was women’s sports were highly popular. A lot of people care and want to watch,” said Fulks. “There is a fan base and I’m excited to see where this keeps going.”

Fulks graduated from Capital in 2000 with a major in biology and a minor in psychology. She later earned her Master of Arts in education from Defiance College and her doctorate from the University of the Cumberlands in leadership studies. Fulks was a member of the 1997 Capital team that reached the Final Four after winning the Ohio Athletic Conference title.

“I think ultimately my brain is a very systematic brain that being a biology major played into well. Even on the basketball court, all we really do is just trial and error. Try something and if it works, great, and if not, try something different,” said Fulks. “My doctorate played into how we use our biological wiring to better understand leadership, to create trust factors more quickly within teams and group environments.”

Fulks has always been intrigued by the prospect of enhancing her leadership skills through evidence-based scientific principles rather than relying on assumptions.

“I think that was probably the crux of being a science major, the very idea of just furthering, understanding and learning how everything works. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably be a neuroscience major. A considerate part of my doctorate was using neuroscience hacks for leadership,” said Fulks.

“I think we take that same approach to basketball. I believe our basketball program has a very high IQ. We really want our players to understand why we do what we do, the reasoning behind it, and be able to really think about and articulate why things work and how it applies to them.”

As Fulks coached her final game of the 2023-2024 season at the Capital Center, she was surrounded by memories of her time on campus and friends and family who came out to support her.

“The first chance I had, I took a break and wandered over to the science building. It was really fun to see the parts of campus that were the same and what is new,” said Fulks. “The piece that I really took to heart was just the idea of loving learning and that it’s fun. We can enjoy the process and yet, there’s always so much more to know.”

To learn more about science at Capital, visit http://3m8.theserialreaderblog.com/academics/biological-and-environmental-science/.

To learn more about Capital Athletics, visit http://athletics.theserialreaderblog.com/.