Tucker named head wrestling coach at PHS
Published 10:39 am Friday, April 8, 2016
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM—A familiar face is taking over Pelham High School’s wrestling team after the departure of former head coach Eric Pollard. Valley Intermediate School physical education teacher Nick Tucker was named head coach right before spring break.
Tucker isn’t a stranger to the team. He spent the past year serving as assistant coach for the high school and as head coach for Riverchase Middle School’s team. He’s also bringing about 15 years of wrestling experience with him, not including his own high school and collegiate careers.
Tucker spent six years as assistant coach at Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City. He worked as head coach there for two more years before moving to Auburn High School where he served as head coach for six years.
“There’s a whole system that I brought from when I was at Auburn, so there are a lot of things I’d like to see done,” Tucker said in an April 7 interview. “Some of them are similar; some of them are going to be different. We put some in place this year, but it’s more or less about building the whole person. We’ll take care of the wrestling, that’s the easy stuff. It’s really building the people. If we build the people the right way, the program will be successful.”
Tucker explained that his coaching style varies depending on the kid. He said some students enter the program with little experience and others have a lot, so it’s important to gage coaching to the athlete.
Pelham City Schools is looking to bring in some people to take over the RMS team, but Tucker said both teams are going to practice together.
“It’s a program,” he said. “That way they get used to learning and seeing the way the high school guys are, and that builds that person. Then they can carry that on forward.”
Tucker and his wife moved from Auburn last year and were both given positions in the Pelham system. He has a son in fifth grade, who also wrestles, and a daughter in kindergarten.
Having being in the Pelham wrestling program for a year, Tucker said his learning curb is over, meaning it’ll be easier for him to take over. Building rapport at RMS, PHS and VIS with the administration over the past year was important, Tucker said, and will be beneficial moving forward with the program.
While Tucker said he was excited to take over the program, he also knows the work that lies ahead. He said he’s more excited to “get his feet on the ground and get running.”
“At the end of the day, it’s not about me being head coach,” Tucker said. “It’s about Pelham wrestling. I will always tell people, when we are successful it’s not because of me it’s because of the kids.”