Fuller, Vanderbilt Make History Over Weekend

November 30, 2020 / CoachingFootball
The Vanderbilt football team made history — rather, herstory — over the weekend during its 41-0 road loss to Missouri.

Though the Commodores were shutout and have yet to win a game in this altered, conference-only schedule, all eyes were fixated on the start of their home game on Saturday, November 28. With Vanderbilt’s kickers placed in COVID-19 protocols, the program turned to Sarah Fuller, a senior goalkeeper for the Commodores women’s soccer team, to assume the kicking duties.

Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

By doing so, Fuller became the first woman to play for a Power 5 football team when she opened the second half with a kick-off to the Tigers.

In follow-up interviews after the game, Fuller expressed her desire to stick with the team, despite the program’s kickers advancing through the university’s COVID-19 protocols.

“I would love to learn more, so if those guys come out of quarantine, I would love to learn from them and their experience,” Fuller said during a Zoom call. “I’ve been having a lot of fun doing this. It’s a challenge for me, but it’s something I know I can do. It’s applicable from doing a goal kick to a field goal kick, so I want to continue learning, and if those guys can help me, I’m all for it.”

She added, “I’m sticking around until someone tells me to go.”

Though Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason was fired on Sunday, he expressed his desire to have her stick with the team. And Fuller noted that the Commodores’ special teams coach Devin Fitzsimmons also told her the team would “love to have her.”

While some criticized the move and the decision as a publicity stunt, many others took to social media to congratulate Fuller on the barrier-breaking event.

LeBron James took to his Instagram story to praise the feat. Hope Solo hopped on Twitter to also cheer on Fuller. Ron Rivera, head coach of the Washington Professional Football Team, noted Fuller’s execution of a “perfect mortar kick for no return.”

To read the full story from ESPN on Sarah Fuller and Vanderbilt football making history over the weekend, click here