Saraland adds hit coaches Stu Fuller and Dru Powell to baseball and basketball teams
Saraland City Schools Superintendent Aaron Milner was expected to smile on Tuesday.
His school system added a pair of longtime and successful head coaches to the Saraland High School staff in assistant roles.
Milner announced the hiring of basketball coach Thompson Dru Powell as Andy Ryan’s staff assistant and former Fairhope baseball coach Stu Fuller as Brett’s baseball staff assistant Butwell.
“At any time you can call on people who add experience and knowledge, that’s obviously a recipe for success in anything, whether it’s academics or sports,” Milner said. . “We feel like they are joining what is already known as an exceptional athletic program, and they will provide even more opportunities for our student-athletes.”
Fuller announced he was stepping down as head baseball coach of Fairhope earlier this month after more than two decades at the helm of the Pirates. He said at the time that one of the main reasons for his decision was the possibility of seeing his son, Keaton, pitch more for the University of Troy next spring. On Tuesday, he said the move to Saraland would still allow him to do so.
“The program gives me the opportunity to see Keaton so much more than I would have had at Fairhope,” Fuller said. “I’m also thrilled to have the opportunity to help Coach (Brett) Boutwell’s program and help lead these kids.”
Fuller took over as coach of the Pirates in 2000. He led the team to 565 wins, 19 playoff trips, 12 regional championships, 3 semi-final appearances, and one championship series appearance. He told AL.com that Boutwell called him less than an hour after the news broke that he was leaving Fairhope.
He said he had no concerns about the move from head coach to an assistant role.
“I welcome the change,” he said. “For 52 years, I have worn a uniform in the spring. For the last 34, I wrote the programming. The opportunity to get out and coach players and not worry about the administrative side of things and try to make a difference in the lives of student-athletes is what always drives me.
Fuller’s addition adds to an already impressive Saraland baseball staff that now includes three coaches with head coaching experience in Boutwell, Fuller and Evan Braun.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Boutwell said. “Coach Braun and Coach Fuller have been doing it for a long time too. What we all realize is that you can still learn every day and if you don’t learn you don’t improve. We will all working together. We’re all here for the kids. It’s about doing everything we can to put them on the path to success on the sports field and in life.
Ryan’s basketball team added two key pieces Tuesday to former Blount coach Daniel Forshier and Powell.
“I’m excited about it,” Powell said. “I haven’t been an assistant for 14 or 15 years. Now is the perfect time for me to do so with the position our family is in. It’s an exciting time. I’m delighted to help coach Ryan in any way I can and I’m very grateful for this opportunity.
“Dr. Milner, Mr. (Brent) Harrison (Principal), Coach (Jeff) Kelly (Athletic Director) and Coach Ryan have all taken steps to make this a reality. The balance between academics and l he athletics in Saraland are excellent, I feel like we are leaving a great school system, but we are going to another one.
Powell spent four years as head coach at Thompson, leading the Warriors to a 74-47 overall record and two regional appearances. The team only won one game the year before he joined.
Prior to joining Thompson, Powell spent seven years coaching Spanish Fort and two years at Gulf Shores. He said his return to Coastal Alabama was family-related. His mother-in-law died suddenly earlier this month and Powell’s parents have also had health issues recently.
“We feel very clearly that God has called us home, and we are very lucky to be able to call Saraland home now,” Powell said. “It’s a thing of God. Nothing else. Often you are not sure of the certainty of it until you experience it. It’s true.
“A month ago, our plan was different. But we quickly moved from our plan to His plan.
Powell was expected to break the news to his Thompson team on Tuesday night.
Powell and Fuller will both be full-time teachers at the school. Powell will also serve as the school’s golf coach.
“We are pleased that these two outstanding coaches and educators are interested in making an impact on our athletic programs,” Milner said. “We know they are men of character. I look forward to witnessing their accomplishments in the schools of the city of Saraland.