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Tucker steps down at Forest Grove


Viking baseball coach Kevin Tucker resigns after five seasons to spend more time with his family

The Forest Grove home dugout will have a bit of a different look to it next spring.

That’s because after five seasons as head coach, Kevin Tucker has stepped down from that position, Vikings athletic director Doug Thompson confirmed. A health teacher, Tucker will continue to teach at the school.

Tucker has a young daughter, Thompson said, and he wants to spend more time with his family.

“It’s hard to ... argue when somebody says they’re not going to do something because they want to spend more time with family. You’ve got to appreciate that and understand that,” said Thompson, who noted that he did something similar when he started having children.

Tucker could not be reached for comment for this story, but according to the biography on his team website, he had an all-star varsity baseball career and served as a team captain at Forest Grove before playing in the infield for George Fox in the early 2000s. He also served as a team captain for the Bruins in 2003.

After graduating from the Newberg school, Tucker quickly jumped into a coaching career, first at Dayton in 2004. Then he returned to his high school alma mater, coaching in the Vikings program for several seasons before becoming head coach in 2010.

“He’s been coaching baseball since the day he graduated college,” Thompson noted. “He’s a veteran.”

Tucker posted a 55-71 overall record as the Forest Grove head coach, including 36-50 in the Pacific Conference.

Among his head coaching highlights, he led the Vikings to a second-place finish in the Pacific Conference in 2010. He picked up league coach of the year honors that spring, and he guided the program to state playoff berths in 2010 and 2011.

This most recent season, which ended with a home play-in game loss to David Douglas, Tucker guided the Vikings to an 11-16 overall record, with the team getting back to double digits in the win column for the first time since the 2011 season. The six wins Forest Grove picked up in Pacific Conference play are also the most since 2011.

Tucker leaves the program in position to post a solid record next year, which will be the school’s first in the Greater Valley Conference. The new league will mostly be made up of current Central Valley Conference schools in Salem and Keizer, along with Forest Grove, McMinnville and West Albany.

While the Vikings did include seven seniors on this year’s roster, next year they should return current juniors Andrew Thorud and Cam Kemper to form the bones of a solid pitching staff.

At the youth levels, Thompson said, Tucker has also played a significant role in the relatively recent combining of the area junior baseball and little league programs into one organization.

As for the new coach, Tucker’s vacated position has already been posted, Thompson said, and he is looking to fill it quickly. A couple of teaching positions also are open, Thompson noted.

“We want to make a decision as soon as possible,” he said, while recognizing that some coaches are still in “playoff mode.” The baseball state playoffs wrap up on Saturday.

While the transition is still in process, Tucker is coaching in the summer program, Thompson said, and he is helping with a tournament that will be staged this summer at the high school.

“The transition, he’s been a superstar with helping us right now,” Thompson said.