Mental and physical preparation sets position group up for success this season
Former Cal walk-on later coached at his alma mater and Fresno State
Coaching veteran had most successful stints at Merced HS and Willamette
Robert Tucker, a proven winner at the college and international levels throughout his 19-year career, is UC Davis’ new defensive coordinator.
Throughout the last three seasons as the head football coach at West Hills College and Los Angeles Valley College, Tucker’s teams posted a combined 30-3 overall record and won a bowl game each year.
“I’m really excited about being back home in the Sacramento region. Growing up in this area, I have always been aware of UC Davis football, its championship culture and outstanding academic reputation,” said Tucker.
“I already feel a great sense of Aggie Pride and cannot wait to join Coach Hawkins to continue the proud tradition at UC Davis.”
In 2014, West Hills College selected Tucker to lead its program — a decision that resulted in immediate success. Before his arrival, the team posted a 2-8 record; after he joined the staff, the Falcons won a Northern California Football Conference championship, posted the best record in school history by winning 10 of 11 games and hosted the school’s first bowl game since 1982.
This extraordinary season led the Golden Coast League to honor Tucker as its 2014 Co-Coach of the Year.
That impressive turnaround led to Tucker’s next head coaching position at Los Angeles Valley College, which allowed his wife and children to spend more time with extended family that lived throughout the region.
As was the case at West Hills, Los Angeles Valley College experienced an unprecedented level of success throughout his tenure by winning 20 of 22 games and collecting championships each of his two seasons. By capturing a Golden State Bowl title in 2015, the Monarchs ended a 19-year championship drought.
Not only did Tucker lead LAVC to another championship the following season, his team also set a new all-time school record by posting a perfect 11-0 record.
Tucker’s recent success at LAVC is another highlight of a storied coaching career that includes three bowl championships in as many seasons, five Division I bowl appearances at Boise State and Colorado, another bowl bid as a member of Oregon’s coaching staff, two NAIA National and two IFAF World Championships, most recently in 2015 as the U.S. National Football Team’s defensive coordinator.
Whether it is at the Division I, Division II, NAIA or international levels, student-athletes, players and teams thrived in the classroom, and on the field, under Tucker’s tutelage.
Quintin Mikell, an 11-year veteran who retired after competing for the Carolina Panthers, and Chris Carr, another defensive back that ended his nine-year career with the New Orleans Saints, are two of Tucker’s protégés from Boise State who enjoyed successful professional careers. Drafted by the New York Jets with the 29th pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, former Bronco Kyle Wilson is another highly touted defensive back that is currently on the Saints’ roster.
Throughout his six years at Boise State (2000-06), Tucker played a key role in the program’s rise to national prominence as a member of Hawkins’ coaching staff. As the team’s safeties coach and recruiting coordinator, the Broncos became a national power, and posted a 56-11 overall record, which included a 37-3 mark and a 31-game win streak against conference opponents.
Shortly after he accepted the Colorado’s head coach offer, Hawkins selected Tucker to help rebuild the program. From 2006-10, Tucker served as the team’s coordinator of recruiting and director of football operations before resuming his coaching career at the University of Sioux Falls.
In Tucker’s first year as the team’s assistant head coach/special teams coordinator and defensive back coach, Sioux Falls advanced to the NAIA Championship Game with a 13-1 record.
During the offseason, Tucker returned to the French Federation of American Football and gained additional international coaching experience as Team France’s defensive coordinator. After the National Team’s season ended, he returned home to resume his coaching duties at Sioux Falls.
In the upcoming years, it was Tucker’s leadership that helped the program experience a successful transition to Division II competition, which ultimately led to a promotion as the Cougars’ defensive coordinator. Sioux Falls quickly made a name for itself by winning another 20 games in the three years following its NAIA title appearance, which helped Tucker receive his first head coaching opportunity when West Hills College invited him to lead its program.
Combined with his two seasons at the helm of Molosses D’ Asnieres, a FFAF organization that advanced to the national semifinals and national finals in 1998 and ’99 respectfully, Tucker’s combined record as a head coach is an impressive 48-10-1 (.822).
When he arrives to campus, the Aggies’ new defensive coordinator will work alongside the individual responsible for his first professional position. Mere months after Tucker received his degree in 1997, Hawkins — Willamette’s head coach at the time — invited Tucker to join his staff as its defensive back coach/defensive line assistant coach.
As a Willamette student-athlete, Tucker led the football program to its first postseason appearance in 28 seasons. In addition to earning All-America honors as a senior, the program named him its Most Valuable Player and Male Athlete of the Year.
Tucker earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from Willamette and a master’s degree in physical education, with an emphasis in athletic administration, from Idaho State.
A Northern California native, Tucker played for Mike Alberghini while attending Grant High School from 1989-’93, competing in the Optimist All-Star football and baseball games as a senior. He was also selected team captain in 1992 — the year Grant won its first San Joaquin Section championship.
Joining Tucker in Davis are his wife, Oriana, his son, Avery (6), daughters Amelia (4) and Alexis (3).
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