It became common practice.
At each BYU home baseball game, former media relations director Ralph Zobell would use his binoculars to scan the stands at Miller Baseball Park. Up high on the third-base side, his former colleague and lifelong friend Glen Tuckett would more often than not be in his seat, sometimes accompanied by his wife, a former player, friend or maybe the occasional BYU fan.
But when the 2022 season starts up in a few months, Tuckett will no longer be in the same seat he came to occupy for years.
“I’ll miss looking for him,” Zobell said.
Tuckett, the former BYU baseball coach and athletics director who led the Cougars to two College World Series appearances, hired LaVell Edwards and helped lead the expansion of the school’s football stadium, passed away early Tuesday morning. He was 93.
Tuckett spent 17 years as the Cougars’ baseball coach, winning 13 division titles and three conference championships. His teams went to the College World Series in Omaha in 1968 and 1971. He went on to serve as BYU’s athletics director from 1976-93, helping usher in an era of athletic success and growth.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the Tuckett family at Glen’s passing and want to express our immense gratitude for everything he did for BYU Athletics,” current BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a release. “The awards and statistics during Glen’s tenure speak for themselves. What Glen did here was remarkable, and much of the success we experience here today can be traced back to the foundation Glen helped lay.”
Tuckett suffered a stroke last Wednesday at home while watching a MLB game and remained in a local hospital until Monday night. Just hours after getting situated back home, Tuckett passed away.
“Because of the stroke, he had several side effects that would have made it uncomfortable for him to live much longer,” Zobell said. “So, I think, in a way, we’re grateful that he was able to pass away so quickly.”
Funeral services will be Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Edgemont 6th Ward, 4056 Timpview Drive in Provo.
Born and raised in Murray, Tuckett played professional baseball straight out of high school. Eventually, Tuckett came back to Utah to start his coaching career at West High School. By 1959, Tuckett made his way to BYU, where he started as an assistant football coach and head baseball coach.
However, it was his role as athletic director that defines his legacy.
Tuckett, who replaced Stan Watts, was at the helm of BYU Athletics as the football program made their national title run, as well as 16 football bowl appearances. He is credited by BYU as a “driving force” in the football stadium expansion in 1982 that saw the old Cougar Stadium go from 30,000 seats to 65,000.
He also managed to secure games with some of the biggest football programs in the nation — home-and-home series with Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Texas, Miami, Washington and UCLA.
Throughout his career as athletic director, BYU athletics won 17 Western Athletic Conference overall supremacy trophies. Along with the 1984 National Championship football team, BYU also won the 1981 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship.
“I just keep thinking about the limited resources that BYU Athletics had when he was the athletic director from 1976-1993,” Spencer Linton said on BYU Sports Nation on BYUtv. “They’re working out of the Smith Fieldhouse, [in] these tiny offices, and yet they continue to put out this high-level product out on the field. They win a national championship. They recruit in a Heisman Trophy winner. It is the story of BYU Athletics and largely the story of Glen Tuckett of ‘we don’t have much, but we’re going to get the most out of it and we’re going to show the world who we are.’”
Tuckett was also responsible for the hiring of the legendary LaVell Edwards, who went on to become head coach of the football program 10 years later in 1972. Edwards finished his career after the 2000 season, having comprised a 257-101-3 record.
Edwards passed away in 2016.
“We wouldn’t have this stuff today if it weren’t for those two,” broadcaster Dave McCann, whose father was director of the Cougar Club back when Tuckett was AD, said on BYU Sports Nation. “...Trumping all of this is that great reunion of those two back together. I bet he had a mile of friends waiting to share stories with him when he passed over last night.”