As the Deputy AD for Internal Operations/SWA at South Carolina State University, Tiffany Tucker is responsible for, among many things, oversight of women’s basketball. Her familiarity with the sport extends well beyond her current role though, as she is a former player and coach. After having played four years at the University of North Carolina, where she helped lead the Tar Heels to four NCAA Tournament appearances, her love of the game took her into coaching. She spent time as an Assistant Coach at the Division I level and Head Coach at the Division II level before transitioning into athletic administration.
What skills did you learn as a player at North Carolina that you have been able to transfer throughout your career in collegiate athletics?
The skills I learned as a player at University of North Carolina (UNC) that have helped me along my journey are time management, discipline and, most importantly, sacrifice. As a student-athlete, it was important for me to be involved with campus activities and leadership development groups.
The opportunity to play at UNC was not something I took lightly, and the level of discipline I learned during my four years turned into successful habits that have transformed my career and holistic living. One of the main reasons I chose UNC was for the opportunity to grow and learn with the intent to lift as I rise. Giving back was a huge part of my college experience and has continued to be a huge part my personal life. Throughout, my college playing career and as an administrator, I have never had to compromise my faith in God and His Son Jesus and becoming firm in who I was a woman happened during those formative years at UNC.
How has your experience as a former coach helped you become a better administrator and sport supervisor?
My experience as a former coach has helped me become an efficient administrator and sport supervisor. The coaches and areas that fall under my supervision understand that they are working with someone with first-hand experience. I can have tough conversations with my coaches and they understand that all options have been vetted by someone with real-life experience in the trenches.
I compare my tenure to the military hierarchy. For example, I was a Junior Cadet, a former student-athlete, who wanted an opportunity to be soldier on the front lines. I took the steps necessary and paid my dues to become a soldier, a coach, to lead men and women in battle. Through consistent work, dedication and mentors championing on my behalf, I have ascended thru the ranks; never forgetting the dues paid as a cadet and soldier.
Being a current administrator, what have you learned in this role that you wish you would have known as a Head Coach?
As an administrator, the most important thing that I wish I knew as a Head Coach was stewardship and cultivation as it relates to fundraising and sponsorships. As a coach, I always organized my programs like UNC; however, we did not have resources supporting my program like schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Given the knowledge of stewardship that I am armed with now; my teams could have been exposed to more memorable experiences and the ability to be a part of generating revenue for the University and Department of Athletics. The opportunity to serve Hampton University as the Director of Sponsorships, broke down so many walls in my professional career. Fully understanding the give and take of sponsorships, revenue generation and fundraising took my career to a new level.