South African Fulton, who spent four years as assistant to Paul Revington during his tenure as Irish coach, takes over from Andrew Meredith, who parted company with Irish hockey in late December after just 14 months in the role.
Fulton brings with him a strong knowledge of Irish hockey having also won a glut of silverware as Pembroke Wanderers coach, culminating in an Irish Senior Cup and Irish Hockey League double as well as the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy in 2009.
As a player, Fulton won 191 caps for South Africa and competed at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games. In recent years he has acted as technical director with the University of Pretoria’s hockey programme in his homeland, while also working with both the women’s and men’s national teams.
Fulton said: “I have always reflected fondly on my previous coaching experiences in Ireland with club and country. I look forward to working with this talented Irish team with the sole focus of qualifying the team for Rio 2016.”
Irish Hockey Association chief executive Mike Heskin said Fulton brought “invaluable” Olympic experience to the table.
“His experience in Ireland provides him with an in-depth knowledge of both the Irish team and Irish hockey and will help him to hit the ground running when he arrives in April. This will prove invaluable in our preparation for the Olympic qualification process which begins in the spring of 2015 with World League 2 in the USA.”
One of the sticking points during Meredith’s reign was his unwillingness to base himself in Ireland, but there will be no such issues with Fulton.
He also has connections with many of the current panel with his equipment company Nedstar sponsoring a number of panellists.