Gilman's Tucker shows the way, gets Greyhounds off and running 1992 ALL-BALTIMORE COUNTY/CITY BOYS SOCCER TEAM Coach of the Year

November 23, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

John Tucker has a lot going on.

The 31-year-old Gilman European history teacher recently ended half a year of retirement by signing on as a player/coach with the Major Indoor Lacrosse League's Baltimore Thunder.

L He also has witnessed the birth of his 5-week-old son, Ryan.

And for reversing the fortunes of the Greyhounds' soccer team, the Gilman coach has earned The Baltimore Sun's 1992 Baltimore County/City boys soccer Coach of the Year honor. But just like everything else that's happening in his life, Tucker says, "I'm just grateful to have the chance."

"With all of the fine applicants that Gilman had, they took a chance with me," said Tucker, whose soccer experience was limited to "street ball" while growing up with such soccer luminaries as the Baltimore Spirit's Barry Stitz and Tim Wittman.

"I already had an interest in the sport, and I think a lot of coaching is just motivation."

But as Gilman struggled through last year's 0-14-1 season in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference, then first-year coach Tucker and assistant Steve McNamara pondered the task of boosting the players' confidence.

The former lacrosse All-American at Johns Hopkins University got help from his professional friends, attended soccer camps and picked up another assistant, former Baltimore Blast player Angelo Panzetta.

The Greyhounds posted a 10-6-2 record this year, including a 1-0 upset of highly touted John Carroll, and reached the playoffs with five shutouts. The Greyhounds lost a first-round game to Mount St. Joseph.

"We were happy to reach the playoffs, but not just happy to be there -- we wanted to go farther," Tucker said. He was pleased with the progress of the Greyhounds who worked hard during the summer, particularly keeper Blake McCallister and sweeper Todd Robin.

"Todd was injured most of last year, and Blake didn't play much. Both of them came in this year and were leaders," said Tucker, a 1979 Archbishop Curley graduate who will enter his fifth year coaching the Greyhounds' lacrosse team this spring.

"Our challenge now is to keep the program going. Our junior varsity went to the championship game and lost, 2-1, to Calvert Hall. I think we're on the right track."

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