Fulgenzi comes back as coach of rival West Las Vegas

Stacy Fulgenzi, a Robertson alumna and former head volleyball coach, has been hired to coach volleyball at West Las Vegas. (Courtesy of West Las Vegas)

Former Robertson volleyball coach Stacy Fulgenzi, whose Cardinals squad won the program’s first state championship in 2019 while she was in the stands under a Las Vegas City Schools suspension, has been hired by rival high school West Las Vegas.

A Robertson grad, Fulgenzi was the only applicant for the position after Lori Vigil resigned as volleyball coach several weeks ago, said Dons athletic director Richard Tripp.

“Hiring Stacy, what can you say, the proof is in the pudding,” Tripp said. “We’re getting a quality coach, getting a person with a ton of experience and she has a terrific pedigree with her sister (Dawn C’deBaca) at Volcano Vista so long. Hiring Stacy, we’re grateful that she’ll be our head coach. We’re looking forward to many years of having her as our head coach.”

LVCS superintendent Larryssa Archuleta, who originally placed Fulgenzi on administrative leave in October 2019 for failing to follow district-mandated procedures for depositing money from a fundraiser for breast cancer victims, then fired her.

The district’s school board supported Archuleta’s actions by a 4-1 count in February 2020. Later in the year, attorney Peter Wirth, the state Senate majority leader, serving as the arbitrator, upheld the decision.

“The district stands behind arbitrator Wirth’s decision which affirmed LVCS properly terminated Ms. Fulgenzi,” Archuleta wrote in an email after a request for a comment on Fulgenzi’s hiring across town.

As for Fulgenzi, she’s quite happy to pick up a whistle again after turning her alma mater into a volleyball powerhouse.

“First off, I felt like I wasn’t done with working with youths in my community,” she said. “I wasn’t ready to leave yet. I’m not done. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’m honored to work at West. I think they’re doing some great things. Everybody has been so welcoming and nice.”

Tripp said he could’ve waited a little bit longer to see if more applicants stepped forward, but with the off-season quickly evaporating, and with a successful coach at hand, there was no reason to do so.

“We’re three weeks away from the official start of football,” Tripp pointed out. “We’re grateful we can get the pre-season program going. I think that was the biggest decision of all.”

Fulgenzi, who was 75-26 in her four years with the Cardinals, takes over a program that did not play in spring 2020 because the district was not yet ready to return to the hybrid school learning situation mandated by the governor’s health orders.

And it has not had a winning record since the 2015-16 school year, while winning just 14 games in the seasons since.

“I am so ready to get started,” said Fulgenzi, who also will have a teaching position in the district. “I’ve missed working with the kids. We have a meeting on Wednesday. I just want to meet my players and get started. I think we’re a month away from having our first game so we have to get going.”

As for adding oil to an already raging high school rivalry, she said she doesn’t see it that way.

“I have nothing but love and respect for all the players I coached who are still there,” she said. “We were on great terms and I wish nothing but the best for them. They are very talented. They’re going to be a great team and I’m happy for them.”

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