Erin Tucker, a four-time Southeastern Conference Track Champion and six-time All-American at the University of Florida from 1994-99, returned to his alma mater where he is in his third season as the assistant track and field coach for hurdles.
Tucker’s pupils had a banner year in 2013, garnering four All-America honors to go along with an SEC and NCAA title. Junior Eddie Lovett, who switched his allegiance to the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier this year, won the 2013 men’s 60-meter hurdles title at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a meet-record 7.50, notching a new school record and racing the fourth-fastest time in NCAA history. Lovett claimed his third consecutive SEC Indoor title in the event, setting the second-fastest time in an SEC Championship meet in 7.54. For his efforts, Lovett was named the 2013 USTFCCCA South Region Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
Senior Ugonna Ndu became the Florida record holder in the women’s 400-meter hurdles with her runner-up finish at the SEC Outdoor Championships of 56.12. Ndu earned three All-America accolades outdoors in the 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles and the 4x400-meter relay, running the third leg. Ndu won her first Nigerian national title in the women’s 100-meter hurdles and finished as the runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles. Ndu will represent her country at the 14th IAAF World Championships in Moscow this summer.
In 2012, sophomore Eddie Lovett claimed his second consecutive 60-meter hurdles title at Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships, while scoring at both the NCAA Indoor Championships (8th – 7.72, 60H – tying the school record) and NCAA Outdoor Championships (5th – 13.82, 110H). As the youngest competitor in the men’s 110-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials, he advanced to the semifinals of the event, racing to a personal best of 13.49 to move into second all-time in Florida school history. In 2012, Lovett was a two-time All-American and two-time All-SEC (first team indoors, second team outdoors), while also being named to Team USA for NACAC U-23 Championships
Tucker, the 2006 Mid-East Regional Men´s Assistant Coach of the Year, rejoined the Gator family after spending the past eight seasons at the University of Kentucky. While with the Wildcats, Tucker helped lead the track and field program to some of the most successful seasons in program history. During his tenure at UK, Tucker coached 27 All-Americans, 26 All-SEC honorees, 15 All-Region athletes, six SEC champions, three NCAA runner-ups and an NCAA Champion (Rondel Sorrillo, 200m, 2010). Under Tucker´s tutelage, 34 school records fell and 67 athletes ranked in the top-10 in school history.
Four of Tucker’s athletes participated in the Summer Olympics during Tucker’s time at Kentucky. Luis Luna was Tucker´s first athlete to see Olympic action as she competed in the 400m for Venezuela in the 2004 Athens Games. In 2008, three of Tucker´s athletes competed in the Beijing Olympics as Sorrillo (200m) and Mikel Thomas (110m high hurdles) competed for Trinidad and Tobago, while Jose Acevedo competed for Venezuela in the 200m.
During the 2008 Beijing Games, Tucker also made his coaching debut on the Olympic stage as he was hand chosen by the Venezuelan National Team to work with its sprinters as an assistant coach.
Prior to his time in Lexington, Tucker, a UF team captain from 1997-99, spent three seasons as an assistant at the University of Illinois. While with the Illini, Tucker helped coach six All-Big Ten selections, a record breaking Big Ten Champion and an All-American. Additionally, during his stay in Champaign, Tucker´s athletes broke multiple school records and posted 10 top-10 marks in program history.
Before entering coaching as a volunteer assistant with the Gators in the 1999-2000 season, Tucker enjoyed a prolific collegiate career at UF. A four-time SEC champion and a six-time All-American, Tucker won the 400-meter hurdles at the 1998 SEC Championships with a personal best time of 49.82, which still ranks as the sixth-fastest time in Florida history. Tucker also ran on three conference championship teams and four All-America mile relay teams for UF. Tucker was also a two-time All-SEC academic honoree at Florida, where he earned a B.A. in History and a Masters degree in Education.
Tucker, a USATF Certified Level I Track and Field Coach, lives in Gainesville with his wife, April, and is the father of Ezra Tucker (3) and Erin Hakim Tucker II (nicknamed Jr.), born in November 2012.
The Tucker File
Hometown: Hempstead, N.Y.
Education: Bachelors in History, Florida, 1998; Masters in History Education, Florida, 2000.
- 1994-1999: Florida (hurdles/relays)
- 2000-03, University of Illinois, assistant coach, sprints and hurdles; 2003-11, University of Kentucky, assistant coach, sprints and hurdles; 2011-Present, University of Florida, assistant coach, jumps and hurdles.
- At Florida: 1 individual national champion; 11 All-American honors, 8 All-SEC honors, 5 SEC Champions.
- At Kentucky:1 individual national champion; 27 All-America honors; 4 Olympians; 6 SEC individual titles.
- At Illinois:1 All-America honor; 6 All-Big Ten honors; 1 Big Ten Champion.