Gordon Fuller managed, coached, or played for 14 Senior Ontario Championship teams in baseball, softball, and basketball between 1927 and ’36. He memorably coached the 1928 Windsor Collegiate Alumni to Windsor’s first Canadian championship in a nationally sanctioned sport, and he led the Windsor Ford V-8s to a silver medal at the 1936 Olympics. The 1936 Berlin Olympics were the first Games to include men’s basketball as an official sport.
Fuller was born in Windsor on August 30, 1894. He passed away on January 8, 1968.
A Windsor Collegiate product, Fuller played as an outfielder for the Windsor Pirates, a perennially powerful local club that won the Amateur Baseball Championship of Detroit in 1914. In Windsor, Fuller won city championships in amateur baseball in 1912, ’13, ’14, and ’23.
In 1926, Fuller founded the Windsor/Walkerville Alumni Basketball Team. Before that time, there had been practically no basketball in Windsor beyond the high school level. Fuller’s record as a basketball coach was remarkable. His teams won 11 Ontario Senior Championships (seven Men’s and four Ladies’) between 1928 and ’36.
In 1927, Fuller coached the Alumni to the finals of the Canadian Senior Men’s Championships. Although the team lost to the Winnipeg Toilers, no Windsor team had previously played as far away as Toronto. Fuller’s alumni also lost in the Canadian Finals in 1929 (to the New Westminster Adanacs), and ’33 (to the Victoria Blue Ribbons).
Fuller won two Canadian Senior Men’s titles, both in series sweeps. In 1928, his Windsor Collegiate Alumni defeated the University of British Columbia at Windsor Arena. It was the first national title for a Windsor team in a nationally sanctioned sport. In 1936, his Windsor Ford V-8s defeated the Victoria Dominoes at Kennedy Collegiate.
Fuller went on to coach the V-8s, that year’s Canadian Olympic Basketball Team, to a silver medal at Berlin in 1936. The accomplishment is unmatched to this day in Canadian basketball history. Canada defeated Switzerland, Brazil, Uruguay, Poland, and Latvia at the tournament before losing 19-8 to the United States.
In 1928, Fuller founded and coached the Windsor Alumnae Ladies Basketball Team, winners of the 1932, ’34, ’35, and ’36 Ontario Championships. The team was also runner-up to the legendary Edmonton Grads at the Canadian Championships on three separate occasions.
Fullers’ Windsor Alumni basketball teams won Ontario titles in 1927, ’28, ’29, ’30, ’32, ’33, ’39, and ’40 and Eastern Canadian titles in ’27, ’28, ’29, ’33, and ’39.
In 1929, Fuller managed the Windsor Chicks to the Ontario Senior Baseball Championship. One year earlier, the team had finished runner-up in the same competition.
In 1931, Fuller was a member of the Chilver Coals softball team, which won the Ontario Senior Championship.
Fuller became very active in municipal affairs following his retirement from coaching in 1936.