Coaching family affair for Tuckers


If all goes according to plan, there will soon be clothes-buying sprees and a change in the household duties in the lacrosse-coaching Tucker family.

If John Tucker's Gilman team wins the Maryland Independent Athletic Association championship, Janine will prepare dinners for a month and buy him a few new suits.

If Janine's Johns Hopkins women's squad finishes the regular season undefeated, John will do the housework for a month. If Hopkins wins the NCAA Division III championship, he'll buy her a new wardrobe.

"If we can afford it," he said.

If Janine has to uphold her end of the bargain, she, John and their two small children will do what they frequently do now for dinner: "Go to Mom's a lot."

Meet the First Family of Baltimore lacrosse.

Chances are John, 32, and Janine, 26, never would have met if it hadn't been for lacrosse.

John is a graduate of Archbishop Curley and Hopkins, where he was a three-time honorable mention All-America midfielder. He was an assistant coach at Loyola College in 1986 when he first saw Janine, then a Loyola freshman out of Loch Raven High and a lacrosse player herself. She was watching a Loyola men's game.

John asked a mutual friend for an introduction. Three years later, they were married.

Janine, a second-team All-America midfielder as a Loyola senior, spent five years as coach Diane Aikens' assistant. When Sally Beth Anderson left Hopkins after 11 years to become a stockbroker, Janine got her first head coaching job.

"Sally had steady success," said Janine, who also coaches field hockey and teaches a squash class at Hopkins. "It's rewarding for me to be able to keep going what Sally started."

Since he left Hopkins, John has continued to play lacrosse almost year-round as well as coach. He played nine years with the Maryland Lacrosse Club and eight with the Philadelphia Wings and Baltimore Thunder of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League.

In 1986 and 1990 he played for the United States in the quadrennial World Games. In July in Manchester, England, Tucker will play for the United States for the third, and last, time.

"The last game of the World Games will be my last as a player, at any level," said Tucker, who also coaches soccer and teaches history at Gilman. "Playing has been such a big part of my life for so long, but it takes too much time. We have two kids. Anyway, I enjoy coaching."

When schedules permit, the Tuckers go to each other's games. John approaches it with seriousness, taking notes and listing things Janine's players need to work on. Discussions at home on those evenings sometimes last for three hours.

When Janine attends a Gilman game, she usually watches it with an eye toward finding something she can pass on to the Hopkins women, but she does offer constructive criticism to her husband.

"He gives me more than I give him, but he's the more experienced coach," she said. "He's one of the best young minds in the game. And I've got him in my own house."

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