Tucker’s legacy continues through scholarship

Bob Tucker returned to Meeker to teach and coach in the middle and high schools and he was honored several times for his years of coaching football, baseball, basketball including high school girls, swimming and little league baseball. Tucker’s legacy continues with the Bob Tucker Memorial Scholarship given to a senior student/athlete.
For the past five years, the Bob Tucker Memorial Golf Tournament has raised funds for a scholarship given every year to a Meeker High School senior. The scholarship honors all that Tucker stood for as an educator, athlete and coach. This year the sixth and final Bob Tucker Memorial Golf Tournament will be held May 19. In years past the tournament has been postponed for snow, continued through rain, and most importantly had participants dedicated to their passion for a sport just as Tucker displayed during his lifetime.
Bob Tucker was raised in Meeker by his mother after his father was killed in an accident. She raised her three kids on her salary from the “Beauty Nuke” salon she owned and operated on Water Street. Her hard work and perseverance was handed down to her children.
Bob played football, basketball and participated in track and field at Meeker High School before graduating in 1950. He went on to Mesa College where he not only participated in the three aforementioned sports but also made the baseball team, despite never playing the sport before. He was a stand-out athlete for Mesa, becoming the first Colorado athlete named to the Junior College All-American team.
He played offense, defense and special teams in football. In fact his presence was so crucial that when he was injured in a big game, his coach still used him as a punter, recording a 73 yard punt resulting in a safety. His athleticism and contribution to the college athletic programs were recognized when he earned the Gregor Westley Memorial Trophy for outstanding sophomore, and then again in 1998 when he was inducted into the Mesa State Hall of Honor.
After completing his junior college career at Mesa College, Tucker transferred to Greeley, then to the Colorado State College of Education where he participated again in athletics before being drafted into the United States Army a year later. After completing his time of service and his education, Mr. Tucker moved back to Meeker in 1966 to begin his teaching and coaching career.
He taught industrial arts and driver’s education, along with some physical education classes and miscellaneous other courses for the middle and high schools. Tucker was the head football coach for 12 years, the head baseball coach for nine years and head girls’ basketball coach for five years. He also coached middle school football and basketball, the swim team and little league baseball through the years.
He was honored several times as the coach of the year when the league and state classification was much broader, forcing Meeker to compete against larger schools with intense competition. Tucker was active in the community, church, and volunteered at the elementary and hospital when he had the opportunity.
“You could tell which season it was by the ball Coach Tucker was carrying around,” it has been said. His passion for sports was well known around town. In 1995 the street connecting the two schools he spent so many hours coaching and teaching in was named Bob Tucker Drive as an honor to his contributions.
Tucker passed away in 2006, but his legacy remains due to the incredible work of his wife Jo, and three daughters, Shelie Tucker-Gustafson, Bobbie-Jo Tucker and Erin Tucker. They have devoted endless hours to the organization of and fund raising through the Bob Tucker Memorial Scholarship. Even as this year’s golf tournament marks the end of the event, the scholarship will continue. In the previous five years the recipients were awarded a $500 scholarship, this year the award has increased to $1,000. The scholarship winner is selected through process of application, evaluation and interview, conducted by Jo and her three daughters, a community member, and a school representative.
Applicants must possess the following personal qualities, represented so well by the namesake of the scholarship: integrity, sportsmanship, upstanding character and perseverance. They must have participated in two different sports in high school for a minimum of three years, and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. The committee focuses a great deal on these qualities and takes time reading the essays submitted by the students explaining how they have persevered to overcome a challenge. The applicant must outline his/her education and career goals for the committee to review. The scholarship is facilitated through the Meeker School District and part of the Colorado Trust Fund, ensuring the funds will be administered through the correct system, and given to the educational organization of the applicants choice.
Shelie Tucker-Gustafson said, “It is very important for people to know the scholarship will continue for many years because of the generosity of community members. Previous winners include, Ryan Wix, Tyrell Gerloff, Clinton Kilduff, Tyler Howey and Chas Mills. This year the committee will select another outstanding student/athlete to represent an outstanding mentor.
For more information about the golf tournament or to donate to the Coach Bob Tucker Scholarship fund, visit the website at www.coachbobtuckergolftournament.com. There are also informational brochures around town.
The tournament will be held at the Meeker Golf Course on May 19. registration is at 8:30 a.m. and a shotgun start is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. The format is an 18-hole, 4-person scramble, with the $80 entry fee covering green fees, cart fee, and a lunch catered by Ma Famiglia. There will be awards given for longest drive, closest to the pin, and a $5,000 hole-in-one prize. Community members are welcome to come enjoy a day of golf or simply have lunch and reminisce about time spent with this great man. RSVP to the Meeker Golf Course at 878-5642.