SAINT LEO, Fla. - A fairytale season like that of the Saint Leo University Men's Soccer team would never be fully complete without a special story behind the scenes. However, a special story is what brings Lion's soccer coaches and players to the field nearly every day since the beginning of preseason in their hunt for the Sunshine State Conference Championship.
In a grueling conference where Men's Soccer coaches are hired for their vast athletic accomplishments, Saint Leo Men's Soccer head Coach Keith Fulk brings something special to the table that encourages and motivates his young players; it's called inspiration.
It is often said that 'nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring,' and Coach Fulk emulates this thought right down to the tee. On May 20th, 2006, Fulk received the news that he had Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a very common form of skin cancer. After the initial shock, Fulk and his wife familiarized themselves with the Moffit Cancer Center of Tampa and began undergoing radiation treatments and chemotherapy.
"I've had 9 knee surgeries, and I thought that that was the hardest thing; but the knee surgeries were like hiccups compared to what cancer puts you through," Fulk say of his experiences. "But mentally, I realized that I had to get over [it]."
Today, Fulk is cancer-free, but still focused on the everyday fight as his players train to compete in the conference tournament. His favorite quote to live by is "never give up," and as the Lions step out onto the pitch every day, they are reminded of the hardships that Fulk has overcome to coach them. Whether it's practice or game time, sunshine or rain, dusk or darkness, turf field or grass, home or away, the Lions have a force guiding them stronger than anything the Sunshine State Conference has ever seen.
View the complete interview with Coach Fulk below.