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BGHS' Tucker headed to the Hall of Fame PDF Print E-mail
Written by By KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor   
Thursday, 28 January 2010 10:06
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Brian Tucker (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Brian Tucker was hired as Bowling Green High School's cross country coach on an interim basis in the spring of 1969.
And 41 seasons, three state championships and 637 wins later, he's still going strong.
Now, he's ready to join the all-time greats in his sport.
He's being inducted into the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame Friday night.
"When I think about all of the people out there and all of the records out there, I have been very fortunate," Tucker said. "A lot of times it's just a matter of what kids walk through your door.
"I know there are coaches who are a lot better at this than I am, but have never had the good fortune we've had. You don't always get kids like we have and when you do, you had better make good use of them."
Tucker had heard of his possible nomination for the hall of fame a couple of years ago, but the selection still came as a surprise when he learned about it via mail five weeks ago.
"I had really forgotten about it for the most part," Tucker said. "I was more overwhelmed, stunned because it was out of the blue."
Tucker was named BG's coach in the spring of 1969 when Warren Ott retired. He's also been the head coach for boys and girls track, and boys and girls freshmen track. He resigned as head track coach after 10 years last summer, although he'll continue to coach the team's distance runners.
"I wanted to coach basketball, that's where my experience was, but they didn't have any openings," Tucker said.
He didn't have any prior experience coaching track or cross country, but did run the 400 and competed in the high jump in high school.
"They said my lack of experience was OK and they appreciated my taking the position on an interim basis," Tucker said.
The Bobcat girls won consecutive state titles in 2003, 2004 and 2005, while finishing second in 2006 and ninth in 2002. They have a dual-meet record of 304-121 and had a 60-meet winning streak ended two years ago.
The BG boys are 333-306, winning two Northern Lakes League championships and qualifying for state in 1980.
"I like the relationship that you have with the kids. It's different from teaching and it makes you more effective in both places," said Tucker, who teaches U.S. Government and American History at the high school.
"Coaching presents similar and different things in both, and you have a different level of communication than there is here. It makes you more complete, more understanding about different things. If gives you an extra opportunity to talk to kids about any number of things, non-sports and non-academic things. You can really develop good relationships with kids and any time you can do that, that's a good thing."
Tucker is a previous winner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association's Ethics and Integrity Award.
"I really like the camaraderie with the other coaches. You build a lot of friendships over the years," Tucker said. "I like the competition. I know I don't appear to be very competitive, but I am very intense when it comes to the actual meet and what is going on. I try not to be a complete idiot about it, but I am intense."
But the career highlight for Tucker remains the girls' three state championships.
"Our biggest claim to coaching fame is we have didn't get any of them hurt and we didn't drive any of them away," Tucker said of BG's run. "That was a special group. They were so driven and focused, and they worked so hard. They were great kids academically and athletically, and they came from great families. Every coach should have a group like that at least once."
Tucker, who will turn 65 in November, said he'll continue to coach cross country for the foreseeable future. He turned the track program over to Pat Carney, his long-time cross country assistant.
Carney is expected to be named cross country coach when Tucker retires.
Tucker is considering retiring from teaching, but may still substitute teach if he retires from full-time teaching.
"I'd like to think I can stay as long as I want to as a coach, if I feel good," Tucker said, adding he'll take coaching one year at a time after next fall. "I really enjoy the cross country. I wouldn't have taught this long if I hadn't been coaching. It kept me fresh. I still enjoy the weekend cross country trips. I'm getting a little more tired of it as I get older, but it's still fun."
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2010 10:25
 

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