Coach of the Year, Robert Tucker is moving to U.C. Davis after only two years as Head Football Coach at Valley College.
By D.R. Harward, Staff Writer–The Valley Star
The goal for many at Valley College is to transfer to a four-year university and Head Football Coach Robert Tucker is no exception. He has accepted a position at the University of California Davis as the Defensive Coordinator for their football program, beginning in the Spring.
While the timing of the move suggests that Tucker is merely capitalizing on his phenomenal success at Valley, his reasons for making the move transcend the pursuit of prestige or the promise of a bigger paycheck.
For starters, the move is a return home for Tucker; the UC Davis campus is a mere 20 miles from where he grew up in Sacramento. Tucker said that the move will provide an incredible opportunity to reconnect with his extended family, many of whom have homes nearby.
How he got the offer is at first—less than obvious, but the why is pretty self explanatory; he is the 2016 California Community College Athletic Association American Division Coach of the Year—due to his shaping the Valley Monarchs into the football team with the best record in California, with 11 wins and 0 losses for the season. In the two years he has been at Valley, he has secured Monarch victories in two bowl games and he is currently riding a 16 game winning streak—the best in Valley College history.
Valley is not the only place where Tucker took a depressingly mediocre football program and whipped the players into playing well enough for a championship shot. Immediately before coming to Valley, he led West Hills College in Coalinga into being the Northern California Football Conference, Co-Conference Champions according to the Valley College P.R. Department. There he took a team who had a 2-8 record before he arrived and helped them to achieve having the best record in West Hills College history. He was named the Co-Coach of the Year that year, too..
How Tucker got on the UC Davis headhunters list has a lot to do with another new recruit to their football program—head football coach Dan Hawkins.
Prior to the announcement the he would be leading the UC Davis Aggies football program, Hawkins was a college football studio analyst at ESPN. A Davis press release about Hawkins stated that it was his “building Boise state to elite status” and “coaching… at the University of Colorado” that was the basis for their anticipation of his arrival. At both schools, Tucker was a defensive coordinator under Hawkins.
Most recently Tucker and Hawkins worked together on the 2015 U.S. National Football Team, but their history together extends back into Tucker’s high school days, to when Hawkins recruited Tucker to play college ball. Considering also the fact that at Willamette University in 1997, Hawkins gave Tucker his first job at a college, and it would be hard to imagine Tucker not heeding the call to work with his friend and mentor once again.
Yet, despite all those compelling reasons,to go, Tucker says his decision to leave Valley was a tough one to make.
“I really, truly have loved my time here at Valley College,” he said.
Dale Beck, former sports information director at Valley, said that Tucker taught the players more than football.
“Besides the winning record he put together, he taught the players how succeed on the field and academically.”