Although Vickie Fulkerson is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia, it’s her passion for women’s basketball by which she’s developed an even greater collection — an expanse of stories that documents and celebrates decades of athletes.
In her 33-year (and counting) career at The Day newspaper in New London, Fulkerson has covered hundreds of games and generations of players. That includes a trip to New Orleans in 1991 to cover the UConn women’s basketball team’s first trip to the Final Four and 11 UConn women’s Final Fours in total.
Some writers might consider that the pinnacle of a career covering women’s sports, but Fulkerson takes just as much pride in her high school coverage. In fact, in many ways scholastic sports are the pinnacle for her.
“I consider covering high schools the greatest privilege of my career,” said Fulkerson, who was recently promoted to Day Sports Editor.
In 2017, Fulkerson wrote about losing sleep for days after watching New London High School’s buzzer-beating win over the defending Class LL champions in the girls’ basketball state tournament quarterfinals. In 1997, she was reminded that great sorrow and great joy are often side by side when she watched Norwich Free Academy coach Bill Scarlata lead his team to a state title days after the funeral for his father.
The duties of the job often overlap with the call to friendship in the small circles of high school sports, especially for someone who grew up in her coverage area. Fulkerson, a 1986 graduate of Stonington High School, already knew many of the coaches, team histories and rivalries when she started her career.
She chose Stonington girls’ basketball coach Paulla Solar, who was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, to be her presenter.
“She gave me the best advice of anyone: ‘Surround yourself with good people,’” Fulkerson said.
Interestingly, Fulkerson didn’t play for Solar; her own basketball playing days ended after junior high. But the sport found its way into her heart and Fulkerson, in turn, found ways to get into the middle of it.
As a journalism student at Boston University, Fulkerson covered the BU women’s basketball team, where then-coach Christine Basile took her on road trips around New England and New York.
“She was the first person to treat me like a professional, even before I was,” Fulkerson said.
During her wide-ranging career, Fulkerson has received a number of first-place writing awards from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists and she has been inducted into three other Halls of Fame: the Connecticut Scholastic and Collegiate Softball Hall of Fame (2000); the Connecticut Girls’ Soccer Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame (2020); and the Connecticut High School Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame (2023).
When not covering or watching sports, Fulkerson, a Niantic resident, plays trumpet for the New Horizons Band of Southeastern Connecticut.