Ex-Illini player Tuck, 23, to coach Dover girls’ hoops

Taylor Tuck played on a girls’ basketball powerhouse in high school, helping Bolingbrook win three straight Illinois Class 4A state titles before playing college ball at Illinois. (Photo courtesy of University of Illinois)

Taylor Tuck played on a girls’ basketball powerhouse in high school, helping Bolingbrook win three straight Illinois Class 4A state titles before playing college ball at Illinois. (Photo courtesy of University of Illinois)

DOVER — Basketball has always been a huge part of Taylor Tuck’s family.

Her father, David, was a 1,000-point scorer at Michigan’s Ferris State while her sister, Morgan, played at Connecticut and is now in the WNBA.

Tuck herself was a shooting guard at Illinois in college.

Taylor Tuck

Taylor Tuck

“Me and my sister have been playing since we were five and six years old,” said Tuck. “So it’s pretty much been my entire life.”

With her playing career over, Tuck figured coaching was the best way to stay involved in the game.

Last week, the Capital School Board gave Tuck the opportunity to get into coaching when it hired the 23-year-old as the new girls’ basketball head coach at Dover High.

Tuck is the niece of former Delaware State player and assistant coach Josette McCullough, whose husband, Tiff, is an associate principal at Dover as well as the former boys’ basketball coach at Caesar Rodney.

After graduating from Illinois in 2015, Tuck starts grad school for public administration at the University of Delaware on Monday. She’ll live in Camden.

“I’ve thought about going into coaching for a very long time,” said Tuck, who has worked with AAU teams in her home state of Illinois. “I’m pretty excited about it.

“It seems like a great opportunity for me. It’ll be a challenge trying to build a program but I think I’m ready for it.”

While realizing that Tuck doesn’t have much coaching experience yet, Dover athletic director Aaron Harris believes the newcomer has a lot of potential.

“She comes to us highly recommended,” he said. “She had great references. She obviously has a great past, playing Division I ball, and she has ties to the sport on all levels.

“The learning curve will be pretty steep. But once she gets settled in, I think it will be great.”

Tuck played on a girls’ basketball powerhouse in high school, helping Bolingbrook win three straight Illinois Class 4A state titles while she was there. She was a team captain her senior year when Bolingbrook was ranked in the top 10 nationally.

At Illinois, the 6-foot Tuck played in 102 games with eight starts during her career. She averaged 3.4 points per contest.

Tuck was originally slated to be a graduate assistant coach at Wagner this winter but the coach there wasn’t brought back.

“After the end of my career, I still wanted to be around the game, even though I wasn’t playing,” she said. “I figured coaching is the best way to stay around it for a very long time.”

Tuck has already met many of Dover’s players over the summer. She said she wants her team to play uptempo on offense but also to be very defensive-oriented.

A year ago, Dover went 10-11, reaching the second round of the DIAA state tournament. The Senators had five seniors on the roster.

“From the girls I met, they seem really excited about the upcoming year,” said Tuck. “They seem like they want to work hard. So, as long as they’re willing to do that, I think we’ll be really good this year.

“It’ll be a challenge, it’ll be a transition to get used to working as hard as I’m going to ask them to work.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.