Portland High School principal David Woods has wanted to hire Taniesha Tucker for a coaching position at the school for some time.
Woods now has his wish.
Tucker was hired last week as the head coach of the Portland High School softball program after Scott Steinbrecher resigned to take the baseball program’s head-coaching job.
The coaching shuffle came about when Justin Martin left the baseball program in June for a position on the Hendersonville High School baseball staff.
“I’ve known Coach Tucker for three years and have tried to get her at Portland in some capacity,” Woods said. “It’s never worked out until now.”
Tucker brings experience to the softball position as a player and a coach.
“I was fortunate enough to be a five-year starter at McCreary Central High School in Kentucky,” Tucker said. “I begin my pitching career at the high-school level in the eighth grade. I was blessed to be able to receive several all-district and all-region awards during my career.”
Tucker started her college career at Berea (Kentucky) College and was a pitcher and played third base. After one year, Tucker transferred to the University of the Cumberlands (Kentucky) to be close to home.
Tucker’s first coaching position was at Christian Community School in White House. Tucker headed up the softball program and served as the middle school girls basketball coach. From 2018-2020, she had the same responsibilities at West Wilson Middle in Mt. Juliet.
An assistant-coaching stint on the Mt. Juliet High softball staff led to the job opportunity at Portland. Tucker has some familiarity with the personnel she will inherit.
“Given what I have from this program the past couple of years, we should really have an opportunity to be competitive in this new district,” Tucker said. “With that said, I believe there os a lot of people out there that automatically assume that smaller classifications will translate to less talent and easier paths to success. The expectation will be that we will be competitive and gunning for a district championship and beyond.”
Tucker got her inspiration to coach and teach from her two high-school basketball coaches and her grandmother.
“My basketball coaches, Jerry Don Ross and William ‘Doc’ Coffey, inspired me to get into coaching,” Tucker said. “They pushed me to be the best version of myself and instilled values into me that’s hard to explain. They didn’t let me wallow around in self-pity and were supportive and nurturing.”
Tuckers’ grandmother played a role in guiding her into the teaching profession.
“My grandmother grew up poor and was the oldest of 10 siblings,” Tucker said. “She helped raise her siblings. Education came natural to her because of the time she spent teaching her siblings. She was a rockstar middle-school teacher that didn’t let much slide but had the respect of an entire county of people.”
Tucker has taken the lessons learned from Ross and Coffey, along with her grandmother, and applied that to her coaching philosophy.
“I am a players-first coach that looks to push players to be the best version of themselves,” Tucker said. “If you want to put the time in and do what it takes to play at the next level, I’ll do everything I can to get you there. If your goal is just to play at the high-school level, that is okay too.”
Tucker has yet to meet the 2022 Portland High softball team but is excited about the opportunity to coach at Portland.
“I’m excited to meet the girls,” Tucker said. “I know Coach Stein has done a great job of establishing a positive culture. I won a lot of games in high school, most of which I don’t remember the details about.
“It’s about people and the life lessons that I learned from the game. Playing softball in high school made me a better person because of the people who invested their time and energy into me, because of the loyal friendships that I built, because of what I learned about the value of hard work and commitment to something larger than yourself.”