• Shawn Tucker
  • Shawn Tucker
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  • Company:

    Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, New Jersey City University

  • Degrees:

    Master's, Community and Regional Planning/Environmental and Physical Planning, Rutgers University, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
    BA, Geography and Labor Relations, Rutgers University

Shawn Tucker, the Associate Athletic Director for Student Athlete Development at Rutgers University, has been selected as the new Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics at New Jersey City University, following a national search. Tucker will be just the fifth athletic director at the institution since 1934. Tucker will officially begin his tenure with the Gothic Knights on Monday, May 7.

Tucker, 33, will join an elite club as one of the youngest athletic directors in NCAA Division III. Tucker will be the first African-American athletic director in NJCU history, the seventh ever in New Jersey Athletic Conference history and the only current minority in the league to hold the position.

He will be the first athletic director to serve in the expanded role of associate vice president at NJCU. He succeeds Alice De Fazio, who retired on March 1 after serving 11 years in the position.

Tucker, a former standout at wide receiver on the Rutgers football team, comes to NJCU with nearly 15 years of higher education, intercollegiate athletics, managerial and leadership experience.

NJCU President Dr. Sue Henderson, the Vice Chair of the NCAA Division III Presidents Council, said: “We had an unbelievable set of finalists for this position, which speaks to NJCU's rise as a destination for talented administrators, faculty and students. Shawn clearly rose to the top of the list. His passion for intercollegiate athletics and his experience using it as a platform for student-athlete development maps directly to my vision for NJCU Athletics.”

Jason Kroll, NJCU’s Vice President of University Advancement and Chief Strategy Officer added: “Shawn Tucker represents all that is good with college athletics. His commitment to comprehensive, holistic development of the student-athlete is exemplar. He's been a leader all of his life and this is a natural next step for him professionally.”

“Leading and competing at an institution for 15+ years where the vision was to create an environment where our student-athletes flourished both personally and professionally has lit a fire in my belly to bring a best-in-class student-athlete experience to our nearly 200 Gothic Knights, coaches, and administrators,” said Tucker. “Every administrator, staff, coach and department personnel will be empowered, challenged and motivated to collectively write one of the best chapters in New Jersey City University Athletics history. It’s time to go to work!"

In his current role at Rutgers since November 2013, he has had executive oversight over the Rutgers Leadership Academy (RLA), the RLA Advisory Board, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Rutgers Athletics Internship Program and R Care.

Tucker’s work in athletic development with the R Fund over the last two years culminated with the team securing the largest gift in Rutgers Athletics history—a $15 million pledge to construct the Gary and Barbara Rodkin Center for Academic Success.

Working with the R Fund as Rutgers’ associate athletic director, he worked alongside the development team and Rutgers IMG to generate public and private financial support for the RLA and university capital projects while assisting in the securing of corporate sponsorships and private donations of over $1 million. He frequently presented to executive level university officials—including the Rutgers Board of Governors—along with corporations, foundations and individual donors on the success of the Rutgers Leadership Academy. He established a Rutgers Leadership Academy Advisory Board whose ten members committed pledges of $25,000.

Tucker assisted in launching R Care—a program dedicated to providing a comprehensive wrap-around care and communication system in the areas of academic support, sports medicine, sports performance and the RLA.

He had staff oversight in the areas of career enrichment, leadership training, personal development and community engagement, served on the 12-member Rutgers Athletics Strategic Planning Taskforce, managed the department-wide internship program and conducted preseason meetings and end-of-season exit interviews with head coaches and their support staff for all 24 sports.

Additionally, he co-chaired the Rutgers Letterwinners Association and coordinated the annual three-day leadership retreat for Rutgers’ 52-member SAAC committee.

Most recently, he was the sport administrator for women’s gymnastics, providing direct oversight in all areas of the program.

“My initial excitement for this prestigious leadership position came during interview preparations while watching the short documentary called “A Gothic Legacy” on the special bond between coaches Marc and Charlie Brown,” Tucker noted. “Immediately, I sensed the immense pride for NJCU, passion for coaching and developing young men and women to be leaders in life and a commitment to excellence that begins with rolling up your sleeves and going to work. And without a hitch, those same sentiments echoed as I met with the hiring committee, President Sue Henderson, Dr. Wanda Rutledge and various members of the athletic department and student-athlete body. There is tremendous potential to build a strong and reputable athletics department at NJCU that achieves success in the classroom, in competition and in life—where our department appropriately invests resources into our sports programs ensuring our coaches can lead their teams to victories.”

Dr. Wanda Rutledge, NJCU’s new Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) and chair of the search committee noted: “Some 89 candidates applied for the position of Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics for NJCU. The pool of potential candidates was deep, diverse, and represented exceptional talent and experience in the college athletics space. The search committee itself was an exceptionally broad-based group of constituents that touch athletics, including former and current coaches, athletic department staff with experience in media, communications, compliance and athlete issues, alumni, faculty, current student-athlete leaders from the SAAC and high-level Board of Trustee representation. The committee was entirely focused on finding the right mix of vision, enthusiasm, administrative experience, and student-athlete understanding. Through an intense review process, the field was weaned down to eight candidates for interview and Shawn Tucker stood out to us all. He did his homework about the institution, its values, its students, its positioning in the conference, and demonstrated a sincere and authentic response to our questions. He fit the criteria of the leader for which we were searching.”

Tucker joined the Rutgers athletics administrative team in April 2010 as assistant director of student-athlete development. Perhaps his most significant achievement was the development and launch of the Rutgers Leadership Academy. Through programming and counseling, the RLA helps to fortify student-athletes at Rutgers with valuable information and tools to guide decision-making in critical life-shaping areas such as career choice, personal enrichment, leadership, community and civic engagement and professional growth. He also created the Rutgers Leadership Academy Award.

In his role, he annually coordinated more than 40 specialized programs and career, leadership and personal enrichment events for over 650+ student-athletes. Tucker supervised the SAAC and launched the R Awards—the institution’s inaugural athletic awards banquet.

Tucker provided individual career counseling to all students and by developing relationships with local companies, helped secure both internship and job opportunities for Rutgers student-athletes. The success of the approach is evident; in 2017, 84 percent of the Rutgers senior class landed full-time positions or were accepted into a graduate school program.

In May 2014, Tucker was selected to serve on the NCAA Life Skills Academy Action Team for DI, DII and DIII institutions. He was one of only two Division I program directors appointed and chaired the inaugural professional development academy for student-athlete development professionals. He was selected to co-facilitate at the 2012 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum. Tucker is an active member of the Big Ten Conference Student-Athlete Development Advisory Group.

Tucker is also an accomplished workshop and convention speaker. He was the keynote speaker on leadership “For the Culture Conference” and the main session speaker at the 2016 NCAA FAR Conference. He has served as a panelist for at the 2013 NCAA Life Skills Symposium, for Johnson & Johnson Leadership, the 2012 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Dallas, the 2011 NFL Sports & Career Expo and the 2008 Young Men Employment Network. He has also emceed special events on the Rutgers campus.

After graduating from Rutgers in May, 2007, Tucker began working for the Office of Continuing Professional Education at Rutgers as a program coordinator for their T.E.E.M. Gateway program, partnering with the City of Newark to develop Community Youth Mapping. While there, Tucker was a member of a staff that received the 2010 Diversity Leadership Award.

Tucker participated in the implementation of the YE2S Center, a partnership among Rutgers, Newark Public Schools, the City of Newark and Communities in Schools of New Jersey focusing on providing education and employment services for youth in Essex County. Tucker has also mentored youth in Newark through the Rutgers Green Rangers Mural program, which focused on the beautification and revitalization of Newark through the Arts, while also serving as a key collaborator in the 2008 New Jersey High School Dropout Prevention Campaign and five regional forums the following year.

Active civically, Tucker is the executive director of A.LIFE Ministry—the young adult and college campus ministry at Rutgers University and Abundant Life Family Worship Church in New Brunswick. He manages a leadership team of 30 ministry leaders that conducts weekly bible study sessions, small group discussions, discipleship classes and community group activities. He helped establish the ministry into a 501c3 in 2017.

He earned a pair of Bachelor of Arts degrees from Rutgers in May 2007 with a double major in Geography & Labor Studies. In May 2012, he added a Master’s of City & Regional Planning (MCRP) from the Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

On the Banks of the Old Raritan, he was a four-year standout and three-year starter at wide receiver for the Scarlet Knights and was named team captain as a senior in 2006 when he helped lead Rutgers to its first of four consecutive football bowl championships in 2006. As a senior, he earned three Preseason All-BIG EAST honors from multiple publications, including First-Team honors by Lindy's.

Tucker was a key member of two bowl squads, including the 2006 Texas Bowl champions that went 11-2 in one of the most successful seasons in program history. Tucker had 115 receptions for 1559 yards (13.6 per catch) and four touchdowns in his career.

As an undergraduate, Tucker served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Athletes in Action (AIA) Student Leadership Team.

Tucker came to New Jersey from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where he graduated in 2002 after a standout prep career. He was an All-State selection as a senior and named All-Broward County by the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald.

Tucker resides in Somerset, N.J. with his wife Mary, and two young sons, Miguel and Javier.