- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
The gymnasiums and playing fields at Halifax County High School will have to do without recent graduate Joseph (Joe) Tucker, who spent all four of his high school years assisting a number of different teams in fall, winter and spring sports. Tucker served as manager for the varsity softball team from his freshman year through his senior year.
He played one season of jayvee basketball his sophomore year, managed varsity volleyball for two seasons while keeping the scorebook for both varsity and jayvee squads and managed the jayvee and varsity football teams for one season.
“I did a lot of camcording and various other duties around the field,” Tucker added when recalling his football experiences.
“This past season, coach (Lynn) Ramage gave me the opportunity to be a jayvee assistant coach and that was a great opportunity for me.
“Coach (Allen) Lawter has given me the opportunity to help him and I thank him a lot for that.”
You could always pick the tall and lean Tucker out of a crowd, but more often than not on game day he was in the company of a number of coaches.
“I can’t think of a season where I’m not at school, and I’m even at school a lot during the summer,” Tucker pointed out shortly after the softball team defeated Franklin County for the Western Valley District Tournament championship.
Tucker valued the advice and friendship of all his coaches.
“Me and coach Lawter (HCHS Athletic Director Allen Lawter) have a pretty good relationship and I feel I can talk to him about anything. He’s helped me a lot and I wouldn’t be where I am now without him.
“Ms. Saunders (Comets varsity softball head coach Melanie Saunders) and “G” (softball assistant coach Jennifer Rutledge) have helped me also, but I definitely would not be where I am without my mom, Betty Gee.
“She’s bought me to all these sporting events and games and I know I wouldn’t be where I’m at now without her.”
Tucker thought a moment before deciding on his favorite sport the past four years.
“My favorite sport is softball. I love the girls and it’s like having 15 sisters,” he explained.
“Sometimes they drive me crazy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”
Tucker plans to go to DCC for two years and transfer to Virginia Tech, where he hopes to work in the sports program.
He plans to major in sociology and get his masters in special education, before coming back to Halifax County and eventually teach.
Maybe I’ll get a shot at being an athletic director in the future, Tucker noted.
“Allen has taught me a lot in hands-on situations, a lot of pre-game situations. He’s taught me a lot about management of a sporting event, so I’ve learned a lot about shutting and opening the gates, turning the lights on and off and where everyone needs to be at a certain time.”
Among all the sports he’s helped with, he’ll miss softball the most.
“I’ll really miss the softball girls, they mean the world to me,” he commented.
“It’s going to be tough, especially with Stephanie (Clark)… We’ve all been together for four years. Stephanie and I were both freshmen together when I came to the softball team.
“We have a pretty close relationship, and I’m close to all the softball team, so I’ll miss that most of all.”
Saunders recalled when Tucker first approached her four years ago and asked to manage her team.
“I didn’t know him from Adam,” said Saunders, but ever since he’s been there he’s been right here with us.
“He’s become one of our kids. The girls give him a hard time but they still love him and the coaches give him a hard time but they still love him. He’s been a fixture out here with us the past four years, and people come up to us and say they want his job next year.”
“We enjoyed having him out here and he always has something funny to say to keep everyone upbeat,” Saunders continued.
“The fact he’ll miss softball the most of everything he’s done makes us feel good.
“He’s worked with football and basketball, and him saying that makes us feel like we’ve done something right.”
Lawter said that Tucker has been a manager for all seasons.
“Every season he’s helped, and he’s helped me with things in general,” said Lawter.
“If I needed for him to do something he’d do it. He’s helped out a lot. This is really what he loves. The playing part wasn’t what he was really interested in, the coaching and the running of the athletics, that part of it, and that’s how he contributed to Halifax County athletics.”
“Joe will make a fine athletic director in the future and he just needs to keep learning. I learn something new every day I come to work,” Lawter added.
“There are very few days you have the same routine and you never know what’s in store when you come to work.
“The main thing is for him to keep working hard, trying to learn, and it will happen.
“Everyone will miss him.”
Stan Hodgin was Comets varsity head football coach when Tucker assisted the team.
“Joe did a little bit of everything, and he did everything we asked him to do, helping with drills on the field and getting equipment out on the field,” said Hodgin.
“He was one of our main video guys, but his impact in the football program was far reaching and he was willing to do anything we asked him to do.”
“I believe he attended every varsity game, every jayvee game and just about every ninth-grade game,” continued Hodgin.
“He helped in any area, whether laundry, video taping, taping players, he supervised some of the younger kids in the dressing room area.”
Tucker was a tremendous asset to the football program, continued Hodgin.
“It says a lot about his initiative. He’s a solid citizen and was a wonderful leader in our school. He has an interest in athletics after his education is complete and he’s talked to me numerous times, his desire to coach and be an athletic director.
“What he was trying to accomplish here was just the experience of being around the inside operations of football so he could be an athletic director in the future.”