John Tucker said the timing of his departure from Gilman is right because the lacrosse and soccer teams that he coached are in such good shape.
His next challenge: to elevate the status of the two programs at Goucher College, where he was introduced as the new coach at a news conference yesterday.
Tucker, 33, a three-time All-America lacrosse midfielder at Johns Hopkins, brings some impressive coaching credentials to Goucher. His lacrosse teams at Gilman went 72-19 in six seasons, winning the past two MIAA A Conference championships. In five soccer seasons, the Greyhounds were 41-18 and reached the conference semifinals the past two years.
"This is probably the most difficult decision I've ever made," Tucker said. "Gilman is probably the finest secondary school in the state, but I was ready for a new challenge. I've always wanted to be a college coach, and this is a fabulous place. It's probably the best-kept secret in Baltimore."
One of Tucker's early goals is to change that. One look at the lacrosse and soccer rosters showed that few of the athletes were local.
"We need to recruit hard and really make people aware of what this place is all about," he said. "It's an outstanding academic institution and its reputation speaks for itself, but not a lot of people know what it is, or even that we have an established program in both sports. We need to focus on getting some kids from this area. I'm going after the best kids. There's no reason why they shouldn't come to Goucher College."
The Gophers' soccer program, entering its seventh year, was 49-42-5 under former coach Steve Hornish. The lacrosse teams were 14-32 in four years, also under Hornish.