Marshall hires Transylvania’s Juli Fulks as new women’s basketball coach

One of Lexington’s most successful coaches is off to the Sun Belt Conference.

Juli Fulks, the pioneer of Division III Transylvania University women’s basketball’s unprecedented success over the past 10 seasons, has been hired by Division I Marshall University to become the ninth head coach in Thundering Herd history, according to a press release.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve Marshall University as the head women’s basketball coach,” Fulks said. “I would like to thank President Smith, Christian Spears and their entire leadership team for entrusting me and our future staff in leading the program. We will take immense pride in serving our athletes and mentoring their personal growth as students, leaders and future professionals. Go Herd!”

Fulks secured her 400th career coaching win in the Elite Eight this season. She will replace Kim Caldwell, the former coach of D-II Glenville State, who took the Tennessee job after one season in Huntington, W.Va.

Marshall director of athletics Christian Spears welcomed Fulks in a statement via the press release.

“You know, no one has a more significant impact on the student-athlete experience than their head coach, so the people we bring to Marshall have to be amazing and have to honor that opportunity,” Spears said. “Today, with the hiring of Juli Fulks, we are doing that once again. There is no doubt she is a winner — not many coaches have 400-plus wins — but what makes her so special is the culture she will create, the way she will engage with our student-athletes and the relationships she will form with them.”

Fulks arrived in Lexington after 10 seasons at D-III Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., and lifted the Pioneers to new heights with an analytical approach to the game. Fulks led Transylvania to six Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season titles, six HCAC Tournament championships and seven NCAA D-III Tournament appearances.

In recent years, the Pioneers gained national attention for a string of undefeated runs. During the 2021-22 season, Fulks led the team to a perfect regular season record before appearing in the program’s first-ever Elite Eight. The following season, Transylvania recorded a perfect 33-0 season and hoisted the program’s first national championship trophy.

That success continued in the 2023-24 campaign, when Fulks and the Pioneers completed yet another undefeated regular season and built a 64-game win streak before falling in the Final Four to eventual national champion NYU. That win streak ranks eighth all-time in NCAA basketball history, regardless of gender or level.

Dr. Holly Sheilley, Transylvania University vice president of athletics, voiced her appreciation of and support for Fulks in a statement released by Transylvania.

“There is no doubt the impact that Coach Fulks has had during her time here,” Sheilley said. “National champions, 64-game winning streak, national coach of the year, and the accolades go on. However, even without any of those, Juli is a phenomenal human being that you realize you are blessed to know. No words will explain how much we will miss her, but we are excited for her and know that this next chapter in her life will be exceptional. She will always have a home at Transylvania.”