The Valley College football program wrapped up its season with a perfect record of 10 wins and 0 losses–with one final game to win to clinch their crowns as the kings of the 2016 Western State Conference. Head Football Coach Robert Tucker spoke to The Valley Star about the sacrifices that are the basis of his strategy for success–both on the gridiron and beyond.
By Don Harward, Sports Editor
Robert Tucker has coached the Monarchs for less than two years, but in that time, he has facilitated two championship bowl appearances and quietly reinvigorated the football program.
Tuckers’ tough-as-nails appearance and natural confidence belies his modesty and compassionate nature, that together with a focus on life lessons and on “how to be first class people” resonates deeply with his students and encourages them to achieve a level of success that would have been considered to be nearly impossible just three short years ago.
Prior to coming to Valley, Tucker was the head coach at West Hills College in Coalinga, where, in his first year, he transformed a team with a 2-8 record into becoming the Northern California Conference co-champions (with the best record in the school’s history, 10-1). He jumped on the opportunity to come to Valley because of the new facilities and because he has family nearby.
He was and continues to be excited by the opportunity to work closely with Athletic Director Jim Fenwick (another legendary Valley football coach and Hall of Fame inductee) whom he considers to be a mentor.
His football experience is extensive and includes a stint as the head coach of the Molosses D’Asnieres (American Football) club in France and he was also involved with the French National American football team in 2011.
The Valley Star led off with the question that is on everybody’s minds; “Why is your football program so successful?“
Tucker: “The program focuses on more than just football; it is about how to deal with adversity, how to overcome adverse situations and how to be positive. In our program, there is a high level of accountability, everything is based on improvement, about getting better and the guys know they are not there.”
Valley Star: The team has a perfect 10-0 record, and they are still not there? You are a tough grader!
Tucker: “When you focus on the details; when you focus on going to study hall, on getting to meetings early, when you focus on being a good person–we do things like picking up trash during meetings and at other facilities. We participate in activities on campus, like we sent everyone to the recent bone marrow donor drive.
We try to get them to do a lot of things together…their job is to love each other our coaches job is to love them; we try to get them to learn how to love their teammates and learning how to love the people around them and love their school–I think all those things are important. All of those things help them to win on the field and also help them in their academic life, help them in their personal life–I believe what they learn in this program will help them be a stronger person. I want them to maximize their potential as a person.”
Valley Star: That doesn’t sound much like you typical college football program.
Tucker: “No, it is very unique. It is unique because, yes, I am happy that we are 10-0, and have earned another bowl game–absolutely I am happy–but I am just as happy when my guys come back and show me their tests or their quizzes that they just got an A on, that is just as important.”