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Photo courtesy of Hoover City Schools.
Hoover High Finley Award winner 2014 Chandler Fullman
Hoover High School's 2014 Finley Award winner Chandler Fullman.
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Hoover Coach Bob Finley
An annual, district-wide award recognizes an employee and two graduating seniors from Hoover City Schools who exemplify good character in the spirit of former coach Bob Finley.
Hoover High School (HHS) Athletic Director Myra Miles and Coach Andy Urban concocted quite a story to get Chandler Fullman out of PE and into the library — where Fullman would find out he was being named the school’s Finley Award winner for 2014.
“I was actually walking to PE and they asked if I could stop in the athletic office,” Fullman said. “I stayed in there for about six or seven minutes, and they just talked about what we are going to do without the ‘Superfan’ next year. I was like ‘Oh, y’all will be fine.”
“Superfan” is a moniker by which many at HHS know this senior student. He’s a self-proclaimed fan of anything and everything “BUCS.”
“I love Hoover,” Fullman said. “I especially love athletics, and when you combine Hoover and athletics – you just love it.”
Fullman has overcome many obstacles to get to this moment in his senior year. In his freshman year (September 2010), he suffered an aneurysm while on campus and was rushed to the hospital. He and his family would later discover Chandler has what’s known as Arteriovenous Malformation, or AVM, a condition best characterized as an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins, bypassing the capillary system and only detectable through brain scans.
The irony of that day for the Hoover Superfan was that it was the same day he was set to try out for a spot on the school’s golf team. That dream never fully materialized, as Chandler spent the following 56 days in Children’s Hospital of Alabama — 17 of those days in a comatose state.
“I kinda realized I was just going to have to be a fan and support my fans,” Fullman said. “I mean, if that’s what God wants me to do, I am going to do it.”
Fullman has since been on a long road to recovery filled with some obstacles – but many more prayers and milestones. He’s very active on campus in service organizations, honor societies and student government organizations. As for winning the prestigious Finley Award, it’s just icing on the cake.
“His name [Coach Bob Finley/W.A. Berry High School] I’ve only heard mentioned with good stuff,” Fullman said. “For me to win this, words can’t really describe it.”
Fullman has plans to attend Auburn University with goals of a career in athletics, possibly as an athletics director.
Fullman, his counterpart Will Freeman at Spain Park High School and Coach Michael Zelwak, the HCS Finley Award winner, will all be celebrated March 20 at the Finley Awards Banquet, held at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center on U.S. 280. The event is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The annual celebration features the recognition of the three winners, in addition to grade-level character award winners from each Hoover school in grades kindergarten through 12th.
The Finley Committee for Character Education was created in 1996. Its current chairman is Jeff Dance. The committee hosts events throughout the year to recognize students who exhibit exceptional character, in the spirit of Coach Bob Finley — the committee’s/banquet’s namesake. Longtime coach/educator at W.A. Berry High School (the original Hoover High), Finley led by example and was known for his calm demeanor, integrity and strong faith.