Tucker to coach lacrosse at Loyola High

3-time MIAA titlist will be next AD, too

July 08, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

John Tucker says he has found his home.

Tucker, whose Gilman School teams won three Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association lacrosse championships and 101 games before he left for Boys' Latin School last season, has accepted the head coaching position at Loyola High School.

He stepped down as dean of students and assistant coach at Boys' Latin yesterday to accept a full-time faculty job at Loyola, where he also will become athletic director in two years.

"I have wanted to be here at Loyola for a long time," said Tucker, a 1985 graduate of Johns Hopkins and East Baltimore's Archbishop Curley High School. "This is it for me, no question. The last few years have given me tremendous forward movement. But I've been looking for a place to sort of plant my roots for good."

Tucker has traveled a winding road to the Blakefield campus, where he will succeed two school icons, lacrosse coach Joe McFadden and athletic director Jerry Savage, who also coaches basketball.

McFadden will continue as the Towson school's admissions director. Savage, athletic director since 1973, will continue that job for two more years. He said his future as basketball coach has not been addressed.

A few years ago, Tucker was named coach at Goucher College but quickly reversed his decision by returning to Gilman before coaching a game for the Division III school. In 1998, he narrowly missed out on the Hopkins coaching vacancy just months after leaving Gilman to become Boys' Latin's dean of students.

Tucker said he will not be lured by any future coaching offers, including ones from NCAA Division I colleges.

In fact, his new responsibilities at Loyola will limit his outside ventures. Considered a top indoor-lacrosse coach, Tucker said he would be able to direct the Thunder for only one more year and could resign before next season.

In his last season as a high school coach, Tucker guided Gilman to the 1998 championship and the area's top ranking. Tucker assisted at Boys' Latin last spring but said he missed being head coach.

"It was a great opportunity for a break," said Tucker, the All-Metro coach of the year in 1995. "But I found myself really missing it. It's a big part of my life. I'm ready to roll now."

Tucker will take over next spring for McFadden, who coached the Dons to five championships in 15 years as the varsity coach and directed them to the championship game in two of the past three seasons. McFadden has the third-longest tenure among current MIAA A Conference coaches.

"I've been blessed to return to my high school," McFadden said. "At this stage, I will remember the great young men I've coached with and for me and their accomplishments after they left here. Beyond that, it's for other people to explain."

The Rev. Jack Dennis, S.J., Loyola's president, said the move was made because of growing athletic competition among local private schools.

Dennis contacted Tucker a month ago about coaching the Dons in 2001, giving McFadden one final season. But the two formally agreed yesterday that Tucker would assume the job immediately, become associate athletic director in 2000 and athletic director in 2001.

"I saw the lacrosse program in action and saw we needed some change," said Dennis, who is in his second year as president. "I thought our program was pretty much doing the same thing for a long time. It was time to bring in a new vision and new ideas."

Pub Date: 7/08/99

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