When Marist principal Larry Tucker witnesses the success the athletic program has had in recent seasons, he admits to being a little jealous.
Marist’s girls volleyball team reached the state quarterfinals for the first time in November, while the boys and girls basketball teams are currently area-ranked, the boys volleyball team captured the state championship during the 2009-2010 season and the football team finished as state runners-up in 2010.
“We didn’t get to go down state when I was in high school,” said Tucker, who was a star basketball player at Marist. “I always envy those kids.”
Tucker has been Marist’s principal since 1998.
Returning to his alma mater was a dream-come true for the 1979 graduate, who had basketball coaching stints at Montini, Brother Rice and Marist.
“The exciting part was coming back to a place that is like family to me,” Tucker said. “It’s been a great experience. When I came back here in the '80s and was teaching, an opportunity presented itself and I applied for the (principal) job. I didn’t think I’d get it, but I decided to use it as a practice interview.
"I went in with no pressure and this is who I am. Mentally, I was thinking they don’t want to pick me, but when they said they wanted to hire me, it was a such a great feeling.”
Tucker has three daughters and his son, Ryan, is a 6-foot-3 guard on the sophomore basketball team and also plays football.
“I love basketball,” Tucker said. “The best part of playing sports is what you get out of it and what you can apply to life. Every day is a competition in life. That’s how I see my job here. Either you get better or you regress.
"There’s a competitive mode to the job. I love watching the teams compete, anything athletic. We have great coaches here and have had a lot of successful teams and seasons.”