PROVO -- Legendary BYU golf coach Karl Tucker passed away Friday afternoon at his home in Orem, Utah, at the age of 83. The former Cougar hall of fame coach was responsible for raising BYU's golf program to a level of national prominence.
Tucker graduated from BYU in 1952 following a successful Cougar baseball career. He took over the helm of the BYU golf team in 1961 and quickly built a national power. Over 31 seasons, his Cougar teams clinched 19 Western Athletic Conference titles, 170 team championships and 117 match-play victories. At the NCAA Championships, BYU accumulated 12 top-five finishes. In 1981, Tucker's team won the national championship, the first outright NCAA title for any sport in Cougar history. BYU became only the third cold-weather school to ever win the title.
"It was a real privilege for me to play for Coach Tucker and later work for him as an assistant coach," said BYU head golf coach Bruce Brockbank. "He was a great friend and mentor. He is a legend in the golfing community and will be sorely missed. Wherever I travel, people stop me and ask about Coach — greens superintendents, coaches, golf professionals — he knew everyone. He really loved and cared for people on a personal level and seemed to remember everyone's name."
Tucker recruited and mentored some of the best golfers in the country, coaching 14 WAC Players of the Year and 13 WAC individual champions. In 1979 and 1980, he coached Bobby Clampett to back-to-back Fred Haskins Collegiate Player of the Year awards. He mentored an amazing 69 All-Americans, including nine first-team honorees. Three of his players went on to become PGA Tour Rookie of the Year — John Fought, Pat McGowan and Keith Clearwater. He also coached the legendary Johnny Miller, Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters Champion, and Mike Reid, a two-time major winner on the Champions Tour.
Recognized as WAC Coach of the Year 13 times, Tucker was voted 1981 NCAA National Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). He has been inducted into the GCAA Golf Coaches Hall of Fame (1983), the Utah Sports Hall of Fame (1992), the SUU Summer Games Hall of Fame (1995), the Utah Golf Hall of Fame (1998) and the BYU Athletics Hall of Fame (2001).
Among other awards, Tucker received the Dale Rex Memorial Award (given to the person considered to have contributed the most to amateur athletics in Utah); the Utah Golf Association Gold Club Award for outstanding contributions to golf in the state; the Bob Polsen Award for his role in the success of the University of Utah Hospital Open; and the Rolex Honor Award for his outstanding service and contributions to men's collegiate golf.
"The loss of Karl Tucker is felt not just throughout the BYU community but also across the world of golf," said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. "We have lost a legend, but his presence will continue to be felt by all who knew him and all who have been or will be affected by his legacy."
Tucker is survived by his wife, Joanne, and four children. Funeral arrangements are pending.