HomeSportArnold Tucker, Celebrated but Overshadowed Quarterback, Is Dead at 95

Arnold Tucker, Celebrated but Overshadowed Quarterback, Is Dead at 95

Arnold Tucker was an All-America quarterback who helped lead Military to undefeated seasons and nationwide championships within the mid-Nineteen Forties, obtained a coveted award because the nation’s excellent newbie athlete and would at some point be enshrined within the School Soccer Corridor of Fame.

But regardless of all that, it was his destiny to be eclipsed on the sphere by two of school soccer’s most celebrated gamers of that period: his backfield mates Felix (Doc) Blanchard and Glenn Davis, Heisman Trophy-winning working backs remembered in soccer lore as Mr. Inside and Mr. Outdoors.

So there was maybe a little bit of symmetry at play when Tucker died on Jan. 10, 2019, 5 days after his ninety fifth birthday: As he was overshadowed on the gridiron, his dying went largely missed.

There was a paid dying discover printed on-line and buried within the pages of The Miami Herald that January. And on the finish of the yr The Related Press listed Tucker (simply his title and age) among the many many “notable sports activities deaths in 2019.” However his dying was in any other case not extensively reported within the mainstream press, which had, nearly 80 years in the past, chronicled his (and Blanchard and Davis’s) gridiron exploits and later, when their time got here, gave each Mr. Inside and Mr. Outdoors substantial obituaries, Blanchard’s in 2009 and Davis’s in 2005.

Reached by cellphone on Tuesday, Tucker’s daughter, Patricia Nugent, confirmed his dying. And when requested why it hadn’t gotten a lot publicity, she stated that she had by no means reached out to the nationwide information media. The Instances found he had died in in search of to replace an obituary about him that was ready prematurely in 2010.

Tucker was integral to Military’s war-era success as a part of three undefeated nationwide championship squads, then largely decided by an Related Press ballot of newspaper sports activities editors. Trying again in 1976, the sportswriter Allison Danzig, who had lined Military soccer for The New York Instances, referred to as Blanchard, Davis and Tucker “in all probability the best backfield triumvirate in fashionable occasions, if not of all time.”

Military had been in a position to assemble such a strong squad after school switch guidelines had been loosened throughout World Conflict II, when many potential recruits had been serving within the navy. America Navy Academy at West Level lured Blanchard away from the College of North Carolina and Tucker from the College of Miami, every after his freshman season. Tucker was Military’s third-string quarterback as a sophomore and the starter as a junior and senior.

Blanchard was a strong however quick fullback. Davis, a halfback, was even sooner. However in an period earlier than performs had been signaled in from the bench, it was Tucker, at 5-foot-9 and 172 kilos, who referred to as the performs and made the offense work because the T-formation quarterback.

Their Military crew was so robust that Coach Purple Blaik and three of his assistants felt snug passing up a 1945 sport towards an overmatched Villanova squad so they might scout the sport between Notre Dame and Navy, two future stronger opponents. Military routed Villanova, 54-0, and went on to defeat Notre Dame by 48-0 and Navy by 32-13.

At a time when school guidelines restricted substitutions, Tucker performed not solely quarterback but in addition security, punt returner and kickoff returner. The one blemish on his crew’s information was a 0-0 tie in its sport towards unbeaten Notre Dame in 1946 at Yankee Stadium.

That very same yr he earned first-team All-America honors and got here in fifth in Heisman Trophy balloting — behind Blanchard and Davis, after all. (Davis gained the trophy that yr; Blanchard bought his the yr earlier than.)

However earlier than graduating in 1947, Tucker gained the Sullivan Award as America’s excellent newbie athlete. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears however by no means performed skilled soccer. For a number of years within the mid-Nineteen Fifties he was an assistant coach at West Level to Vince Lombardi, who went on to glory with the Inexperienced Bay Packers.

From 1947 to 1976, Tucker served within the Military and Air Power in lots of capacities, together with transport pilot in the course of the Korean Conflict. He retired as a lieutenant colonel, having been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and different honors.

Tucker married Patricia Small in 1947. She died in 1998. Along with Ms. Nugent, Tucker is survived by two grandsons. His son, Arnold Thomas Tucker, often called Tom, died in 2014.

Younger Arnold Tucker (Younger was his given title) was born on Jan. 5, 1924, in Calhoun Falls, S.C. He performed highschool soccer in Miami.

He began school at Notre Dame however left after a couple of weeks as a result of, he stated, he didn’t just like the chilly Indiana climate. He entered the Navy’s V-12 program, which might have led to a fee, and as a naval assignee attended the College of Miami, taking part in quarterback for the Hurricanes. He was discharged from the Navy in July 1944 so he may obtain his appointment to West Level.

“I used to be discharged from the Navy to enter the U.S. Navy Academy,” he instructed The Miami Herald in 2008. “I reported in my sailor swimsuit.”

In three seasons at West Level, on a crew that threw the ball sometimes, Tucker handed for 1,127 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 1946, as a security, he intercepted eight passes, an Military single-season file. He was additionally captain of Military’s basketball crew.

Tucker was elected to the School Soccer Corridor of Fame in 2008 — 62 years after he final walked off a school taking part in subject. His induction got here due to a particular committee that reviewed oversights.

Frank Litsky, a longtime sportswriter for The Instances, died in 2018. Alex Traub contributed reporting.



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