Anthony Tucker took the opportunity to try to steer the Bartlesville High School boys soccer program in the right direction.
But, he received an offer in private company that he felt he could not refuse and is stepping down after two years as coach of the Bruins.
A Bartlesville High alumnus and soccer player himself, Tucker said, âI enjoyed my comeback with the Bruins. â¦ I will miss it. I love to train. I will probably continue to train somewhere down the line. I will miss training at Custer Stadium. “
Tucker led the Bruins through a tumultuous time with circumstances beyond his control.
As the Bruins scored 4-8 in 2019, Tucker guided the 2020 squad to a scorching 4-1 start – only to see a very promising campaign scuttled by the coronavirus-related shutdown of all spring sports. of Oklahoma.
Last season, Tucker had to fight in several games without his top veterans, but the Bruins still produced a winning record (8-7) for a second straight season.
Luck just wasn’t on the Bruins’ side.
Of their seven losses in 2021, six of them were by one goal – and three of them were decided in overtime.
The Tucker Bruins held 14 opponents to two goals or less and recorded three shutout wins.
The Bruins outscored their District opponents, 13-8, but were only 2-5.
In 2020, Bartlesville proved to be unbeatable in overtime scenarios (3-0) in five games, but they didn’t have a chance to write the full season script.
Tucker said he knew when he took over the program that the task of revitalizing it would be difficult.
But, his leadership has helped the Bruins go 12-8 cumulative over the past two seasons and be competitive or in control of all of their games.
He said he knew the most difficult task was to build a system that would last season after season.
But, regardless of the system, the Bruins competed last season with several of their proven veterans injured or unavailable.
If Jalen Belong, a starter since his first year, had been there the entire time “I just don’t see us losing six games to one goal,” he said. “The only time we lost by more than one goal was by two goals against Broken Arrow, the eventual state champion.”
Plus, Nathan Dreher – another valuable asset – was probably out for half the season, Tucker said.
The team were also lacking in strength when Dylan McCoy couldn’t play and took out his biggest speed threat to keep defenses more honest, Tucker said.
Tucker sees the two biggest pillars of efficiency return next season as Brandon O’Rourke and Cameron Molder.
âYou have to trust the guys who have been captains for a number of years and keep building on that,â Tucker explained.
O’Rourke scored five goals and made five assists last season and Molder is a multi-year goaltender starter.
O’Rourke and Molder both played in Italy this summer, he added.
He said he believes these two mainstays and Dreher are all legitimate candidates to play Division I football.
âI still talk to the coaches about them now,â he said.
An important aspect of continuing to develop a consistently successful Class 6A soccer program is that local players want to be proud of it, Tucker added.