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Tucker makes tough choice, approved as Winfield coach


WINFIELD | Lance Tucker, Fayette County’s head coach for the past two seasons, was hired Tuesday to lead the football program at Winfield High School.

The Winfield City Board of Education voted 4-0 with one abstention to approve the hiring of Tucker, a Fayette County graduate and former University of Alabama quarterback.

"I just think sometimes God opens doors for you and gives you signs and talks to you and shows you what He wants you to do with your life," Tucker said. "There were just some things that I thought would be best for me and my family, and I felt like that was what we were supposed to do with our life.

"It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever had to go through. It was extremely difficult, not only on myself, but my entire family, from my wife, my kids, my in-laws, my mom and dad, my brother and his wife. And you can go on and on and on about friends. It was gut-wrenching and brutal, but sometimes when you have faith in God, and when He opens that door then that really puts your faith to the test.

"My first goal is, I want to be there. I want to make it my home, and I want to be there for a long time."

Tucker coached the Tigers to a 9-4 record in 2011. His 2012 team went 12-3 and lost to Madison Academy 31-7 in the AHSAA Class 3A championship game. The Winfield job came open when Barry Gibson left to become the head coach at Citronelle. Gibson coached the Pirates to a 4-6 record in his one season.

Keith Davis, superintendent of Winfield City Schools, recommended Tucker to the board.

"I’m just extremely, extremely grateful for this opportunity for him to be a part of our program," Davis said. "Winfield has traditionally had a strong football program, and I know that he is going to take it even further."

Winfield went 14-1 and reached the Class 3A championship game in 2004, when Danny Adams was the head coach.

"First and foremost, (Tucker) is a man of high moral character, and that’s very important to us," Davis said. "Needless to say, he knows the game of football. He comes from a very rich pedigree when it comes to football. A third thing that was important to me is the fact that he is from the area and he’s going to be putting his children in our school system, so he’ll be a very strong part of our community."

Tucker grew up in a football family and was a seventh-grader when he started playing quarterback for his father, Waldon Tucker, who set a state record with 309 victories before retiring after the 2010 season. Luke Tucker, the younger son, was the quarterback on Fayette County’s Class 4A championship team in 1996.

Lance Tucker helped out as a coach before becoming the first Sipsey Valley head coach in 2010. His first game as a head coach resulted in a 28-6 loss to his father’s team.

"That’s part of growing as a person and as an educator," Lance Tucker said. "Hopefully, I’ve learned a little something everywhere I’ve been. We’ll do the best we can with what we’ve got, and we’re going to have a good time with it. We’re going to pat the kids on the back and enjoy it. The kids don’t get paid a dime. All they get is the high school experience. That’s what we want to give them — something they can remember forever."

Lance Tucker said he had not worked out the details of when he will begin working at Winfield or when he will conduct spring training.

Jeremy Madden, Fayette County’s principal, said he won’t start a coaching search until he receives a letter of resignation.

"I don’t want him to leave," Madden said. "I want him to stay here, and he knows that."

 

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.