STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford’s recently concluded Final Four campaign was the last with Harry K. and Ida S. Berland Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach Amy Tucker on the bench it was announced Thursday.
A fixture on the Cardinal sidelines for more than three decades, Tucker is stepping away from coaching. She will remain with the program in an administrative capacity.
“It has been a great pleasure and honor to spend the past 32 years coaching Stanford women’s basketball,” Tucker said. “I’m extremely proud of what we’ve built, the young women that have come through our program and all that they have accomplished. I am excited to continue my work with Stanford and look forward to seeing the team build on what was a great 2016-17 season.”
An excellent strategist, Tucker arrived on The Farm with Tara VanDerveer in 1985-86 and helped guide the Cardinal to an 889-183 (.829) overall record. She was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 1996-97 season.
When VanDerveer was tabbed to lead the USA Basketball National Team during the 1995-96 campaign and for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Tucker was named interim head coach. Stanford’s 29-3 season, which included the program’s fifth NCAA Final Four appearance of the 1990’s, earned Tucker UPI (United Press International) National Coach of the Year and Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors.
During Tucker’s tenure, Stanford won a pair of NCAA titles, reached 13 Final Fours, 19 Elite Eights and 24 Sweet Sixteens, including each of the last 10 seasons. At the conference level, the Cardinal claimed 23 Pac-12 regular-season championships, won 12 Pac-12 Tournament titles and posted a league record of 486-72 (.871).
“Amy’s contributions to Stanford’s success have been immense,” VanDerveer said. “She’s incredibly knowledgeable about the game and is a wonderful teacher – able to effectively communicate what she knows to all the players that have worn a Cardinal uniform. Her work ethic is second to none and she has an amazing eye for talent as well. Amy really found the players to put Stanford women’s basketball on the map. We are extremely fortunate that she will remain a part of our program and continue to contribute in her new role.”
One of the nation’s top recruiters and an excellent evaluator of talent, Tucker was responsible for assembling a multitude top-five recruiting classes during her tenure. Among the notable recruits she helped bring to The Farm were Wade Trophy Players of the Year Jennifer Azzi (1990) and Candice Wiggins (2008), two Naismith National Players of the Year in Azzi (1990) and Kate Starbird (1997), 2014 John R. Wooden Award recipient Chiney Ogwumike, as well as three-time All-Americans Nicole Powell (2002-04) and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2010-12).
Under Tucker’s tutelage, five Stanford front-line players (Jayne Appel, C. Ogwumike, N. Ogwumike, Val Whiting, Nicole Powell) earned multiple WBCA All-America selections and all were named Pac-12 Player of the Year. Seven of her frontcourt recruits went on to be selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft and a total of thirteen have played in the WNBA.
Since the inaugural season of Pac-12 women’s basketball in 1986-87, Tucker helped guide Stanford players to 30 first team All-America honors (WBCA and Associated Press), 18 Pac-12 Player of the Year awards, eight Pac-12 Freshman of the Year nods, 70 first team All-Pac-12 selections and 127 Pac-12 All-Academic picks.
Tucker began coaching soon after completing a successful four-year playing career (1979-82) at Ohio State. She joined VanDerveer on Ohio State’s bench as a graduate assistant in 1983-84 and a year later was promoted to assistant coach. In the two years on the Buckeye staff, she helped OSU to a 50-10 (.833) mark and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the Elite Eight in 1985.
As a player, Tucker led the Buckeyes to a 72-51 record and twice paced the team in scoring, finishing her career second on Ohio State’s all-time scoring list with 1,629 points. Through the end of the 2016-17 campaign, Tucker’s career scoring output continues to hold a place in Ohio State lore, ranking 13th in Buckeye women’s basketball history. She also finished her career atop the school’s all-time list for games played with 123, a mark that stood for 14 years.
As a senior in 1981-82, Tucker was named Ohio State’s captain and led the squad to the Big Ten Tournament title and an appearance in the inaugural edition of the NCAA Tournament.