His life was far more than OK: It was exemplary.
Orin “O.K.” Fulton died in Litchfield Park Jan. 17. He was 87.
His name will live on for generations, as the Agua Fria High School gym is named after him.
According to his obituary, Fulton spent 36 years at Agua Fria Union High School as a teacher, coach, athletic administrator, assistant principal and principal.
He was elected to the Governing Board of the AFUHS district in 1996 where he served as a board member until 2012.
Born Sept. 14, 1932, in Snowflake, “O.K.” played basketball at the University of Southern Mississippi. He went on to earn master’s degrees from the University of South Dakota and Arizona State University.
He was the “Voice of the Owls” announcing Agua Fria football games for 55 years.
He was also a community leader, serving on the Goodyear and Litchfield Park city councils for six years each.
As a coach, Fulton led Agua Fria to three state basketball championships (1962, 1965, 1966) and two runner-up seasons.
And he led Agua Fria to three consecutive golf championships, from 1971-73.
He was selected to the Arizona and National Coaches Hall of Fame and named National Athletic Director of the Year, President of the Arizona School Administrators Association and ASA Principal of the Year.
Likely the greatest athlete Fulton coached was Randall McDaniel. The huge offensive lineman ran a 10.64-second 100-meter sprint as a senior at Agua Fria.
After playing for the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1998-2001, McDaniel was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
McDaniel shared his honor with Fulton, asking his high school coach and mentor to give his induction speech.
“Mr. Fulton’s life work as a coach, teacher, and administrator transcends generations,” said Dennis Runyan, Agua Fria Union High School District superintendent.
“Mr. Fulton is the individual who fostered the family environment at Agua Fria,” said Stephanie Vaughn, assistant principal. “He facilitated the bond between students and staff in a way that promoted the best within every person.”
“According to ‘O.K.’, his passion for teaching and his love of young people allowed him a long career in which he never worked a day in his life,” Fulton’s obituary states.
“Anyone given the pleasure of knowing ‘O.K.’ would agree, with his winning personality, warm smile, a repertoire of quotes and corny jokes, he could take command of any room he entered. He found his strength in self-discipline, a strong work ethic and a fierce competitive nature.”
He leaves behind his wife, Judy, daughters Beth, Jan, Deborah and Bridget and sons Mel and Mark, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for “O.K.” Fulton will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Church at Litchfield Park, 300 N. Old Litchfield Road, Litchfield Park.
A reception will follow at the “O.K.” Fulton Gymnasium, 530 E. Riley Drive, Avondale.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in “O.K.” Fulton’s name to the Agua Fria Foundation, 14175 W. Indian School Road, Suite B-4, #518, Goodyear, Arizona 85395.