Allan Fulton has always held Wyoming and the University of Wyoming in high regard.
Fulton grew up in Powell, and lettered as a halfback at UW in 1953. He has been a longtime football season-ticket holder and member of the Cowboy Joe Club, the fundraising arm for UW athletics. Fulton and his wife, Maxine, also donated money to UW’s business school.
But for the last few years, Fulton’s bond with UW has been extra special because of family.
Fulton’s great-great-nephew is Cowboys senior defensive end Josiah Hall, a former walk-on who was elected a team captain this season by his teammates. Hall has played in 35 games in his UW career, and is expected to start when the Cowboys open the season at 5:30 p.m. today against Missouri at War Memorial Stadium.
“Having Jo there, and to see him advance and grow, has made the games
a lot more intense and interesting for my wife and I,” said Fulton, who is 87 and lives in Denver. “To be at the games and after the game having this big, sweaty guy come up and give us a hug is different than most people would ever experience.”
Watching Hall play also is a different experience for Fulton.
“It makes you not watch the rest of the game. You just watch him and have no idea what the other 21 people are doing out there,” he said with a laugh. “I talked it over with his dad and asked if he wat-ches the rest of the game, and he said, ‘No, we just watch Jo.”
As part of the fundraising efforts for its $44 million High Altitude Performance Center, which was completed in the summer of 2018, UW did a locker purchase campaign geared toward former players.
Naturally, it made sense that Fulton bought the locker for his great-great-nephew.
Hall said he didn’t know Fulton played at UW until he committed in 2015. Hall knew Fulton was family, but now that he is a player, Hall has had a chance to get to know Fulton a lot better.
“I kind of thought I was going to be the first one to play here, but it was fun to find out that he did and bond over that,” Hall said. “We became a lot closer over the years I’ve been here.”
Hall said it is “cool” that Fulton purchased his locker, and he sees the plaque over his locker every day.
“I wouldn’t say it gives me extra motivation, but I just want to make him proud and all of my family proud,” Hall said.
Hall learned early in his time at UW how much Fulton loves his school.
“It was my first-ever college class, and I walk (into the business building), and I see his picture,” Hall said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I know that guy.’ He has been a great advocate for the university and Wyoming athletics.”
Fulton said his favorite moment watching Hall play came in 2016, when Hall was a redshirt freshman. UW defeated No. 13-ranked Boise State at home 30-28. UW recorded a safety late in the fourth quarter that proved to be the winning points. Hall was caught on camera doing what has been dubbed “The Safety Dance” as the officials conferred on the call.
UW went on to win eight games that season and claim the Mountain Division title in the Mountain West.
Fulton is obviously proud of Hall, and admires how Hall has persevered during his career, from being a walk-on to earning a scholarship, overcoming injuries and being named a team captain in his final season.
It also has brought family members closer, and gives Fulton at least one more chance to see Hall play.
“He plays with a knowledge as to what his position is, and what he needs to do,” Fulton said. “I think he has really mentally settled into the game. Because of that, he does what he is supposed to do.
“The reason we have season tickets this year is it is his last year, and it may our last year. I’m 87, and this may be the last time my wife and I drive from Denver to Laramie.”
Another special day
UW held a flag football game for former players in April prior to its spring game.
Fulton was there, and jogged onto the field early in the game. UW lined up in a single-wing formation, the same as when Fulton was a player. He took a handoff and ran for a touchdown.
“We have it on tape. My wife says the only thing I haven’t done is go out on the street and see if I can bring somebody in to watch it,” Fulton said. “That made my summer.”
Robert Gagliardi is the WyoSports senior editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-755-3325. Follow him on Twitter at @rpgagliardi.