Tucker Takes Over Eagles Football Program

Jimmy Tucker is set to start his first season as the new head coach of the Sullivan Eagles football team.

Tucker was hired last spring to take over for Andy Arnette. Arnette was head coach for four seasons from 2013 to 2016 where he won the Four Rivers Conference his first season. Sullivan went 23-19 during his tenure.

Tucker comes with an impressive resume. He got his start as an assistant at Palmyra, then moved on to take over at Bowling Green. Tucker completely turned the program around. He guided the Bobcats to the Class 3 state championship game against Cassville in 2009 and the Final Four in 2010. 2009 was the first time Bowling Green ever reached the title game and came the same year they won their first playoff game.

Bowling Green went winless the year before Tucker took over. The Bobcats finished 1-9 in his first season.

Tucker left Bowling Green after six seasons to take a position at Grain Valley, located about 23 miles east of Kansas City.

He coached there for three seasons, going 6-5, 2-8 and 4-6.

After a brief stop at Jefferson R-7 in 2014, Tucker moved on to become offensive coordinator at North County High School in Bonne Terre in 2015 and 2016. The Raiders averaged just 20 points per game his first season and 33 points in 2016.

And while Grain Valley never reached the same heights as Bowling Green, Tucker's numbers his final season were more than 100. Nearly 80 players were on the varsity roster.

"I hope so," Tucker said with a chuckle when asked if student-athletes enjoy playing for him. "I stress playing everyone at the lower level. I want to get everyone to be a part of something bigger. I want kids to enjoy the atmosphere."

Tucker is the first head coach to come outside the district since Tim Rinne in 2002. Patrick Burke was an assistant for Burke when the school hired him to take over in 2007. Arnette was offensive coordinator for two seasons when he was hired in 2013. He wants the program to be known for producing student-athletes who work hard on and off the field.

"I want good citizens off the field," Tucker said. "Hopefully the kids go on to do something they enjoy. Hopefully that's what we'll be known for."

Tucker said he was familiar with the Sullivan area.

"There's good facilities and the program has had good success," he said.

Burke implemented the double-wing offense in 2010 and two seasons later, it was borderline unstoppable as Sullivan rushed to more than 50 points per game and a district championship. Arnette continued the double-wing until the Eagles went to a spread early in 2016, but Tucker knows the double-wing and has been running it this summer.

Tucker used the double-wing at Bowling Green in 2010, but he's also familiar with the spread.

"I'll adjust to whatever we got," he said.

The Eagles open the season Aug. 18 against Park Hills Central.

Sullivan Independent News

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