If you’ve ever wondered who Dick Tucker is and why the Orange Coast College football field is named after him, then you’re not alone.
Tucker was the winningest coach in OCC history who took the Pirates to national championship victories in 1963 and 1975.
He also led the Pirates to two division titles in his time as head coach.
He retired from the college in 1995.
Beginning his tenure in 1962, the WWII Navy veteran served OCC as both the head coach of the football team and as the athletic director for over a decade.
During his time at OCC, Tucker also coached two of his three sons in football.
Despite his numerous accomplishments, Tucker’s primary legacy to the current coaching staff and players is one of pride in the program and a commitment to building character in his players.
“One of the things that was very apparent to me when I got here was the pride. Not only in the school and Athletic department and I think a lot of that had to do with what Dick Tucker did when he was here,” head coach Bubba Gonzalez said.
Freshman linebacker Zeke Alleman recognizes the lasting impact Tucker had on OCC and its football team’s legacy.
“I think the legacy is that of hard work, commitment and dedication to the group effort,” said Alleman.
LeBard Stadium’s field was renamed in Tucker’s honor during the 2016 season.
The stadium itself remained named after Harry R. LeBard.
“When I first heard about the honor, I was surprised beyond belief. It was such a nice gesture and I really appreciate all of the people who ran with this idea and made it possible. I put a lot of wonderful years into OCC and I wouldn’t change a thing.” Tucker said prior to the dedication ceremony in 2016.
In his time at OCC, Tucker was known for his calm demeanor, optimism during competition and in helping his players succeed both in the classroom and on the field.
“Just being here, especially as a student-athlete, it builds character. We all build a certain type of grit and grind to get what we want to succeed, whether that’s in the classroom, on the field or at our job,” said Kyrie Adams, freshman defensive back said.
Tucker’s legacy provides a picturesque goal for the future of the Pirates football team.
“Obviously winning is super important. I want to get OCC football back to where it was in the old days, but I can’t do that until we help these men develop character wise. If we can do that, the winning will take care of itself,” Gonzalez said. “I wanna make sure we’re upholding the traditions that he started.”
Tucker passed away on July 26th 2018 at 92 years old and on the same day as his wife of 68 years, Philippa.