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For Director of Athletics, it’s nice being No. 1

Tucker family photo
The Tucker family

In summer 2008, Troy Tucker became NCC’s third director of Athletics in its nearly 50-year history. Five years after his arrival, he has made a lot of headway.

Soon after arriving at the college, Tucker played a large role in helping NCC join Region XIX, one of the 24 regions that make up the National Junior College Athletic Association. After a solid first few years in the NJCAA, NCC is attracting notice not only in its region, but also on the national level for the first time.

Last year, NCC won two region championships (women’s basketball and women’s volleyball), two region Coach of the Year awards (Art Wolfe ad Adrian Yaguez), and a region Player of the Year award (Kelly Yagehofer, volleyball). In November, the women’s basketball team was ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA. That made them the best team of all junior colleges in the country, giving NCC its first No. 1 national team in school history.

NCC also has produced a handful of top 10 teams and numerous All-region and All-American selections.

Tucker came to NCC with a record of success: had been the athletic director at Jamestown Community College, D’Youville College (where he was named National Athletic Director of the Year 1998), and Herkimer County Community College. He was associate director of Athletics at the University of Maryland from 2004-2008, during which the school won four NCAA championships in three sports.

He currently serves on the Executive Committee of Region XIX, the Executive Committee of the National Association of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators, and is president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Athletic Conference.

Tucker spoke of the recent success that the Athletic Department has enjoyed, but on the topic of the soccer team (which went 4-10-3 last season), he decided to use it as an example. He noted that he expects all teams to maintain at least a .500 record.

“That record isn’t acceptable,” he said about the team. “We don’t need to win every championship every year, but we always want to compete.”

Tucker spoke about NCC athletes using the department to further their careers, whether for athletic or academic reasons. While some of the athletes may use their sport to gain a partial scholarship to a Division II program, others use it just to finish a four-year degree outside of NCC.

“Right now three of our girls from our previous women’s basketball team are playing on the East Stroudsburg University team, and they were all recruited through us,” Tucker said.

He didn’t forget to mention all the athletes from NCC who use that experience just to transfer to a four-year program to finish their degree. “We just want to do whatever we can to help our kids succeed,” he said.

Tucker is looking toward the future as well. Youth programs are often held on weekends by NCC for elementary and middle school students, and not only for the sake of the children’s activity; but hoping to introduce NCC and its athletics to these kids at an early age.

Beginning next fall, NCC will begin offering cross-country, and in spring 2014, men’s lacrosse; both teams will compete in Region XIX.

The addition of the lacrosse team will be the first lacrosse program at a junior college in Pennsylvania, Tucker said.