Northland College Coach Gives Back
Daryle Tucker Partnered with Samaritan's Feet to Bring Shoes to Those Who Need Them
ASHLAND, Wis. – Daryle tucker looks like an average basketball coach. However, this seemingly average coach has an above average heart.
“I feel like if you have an opportunity to bless someone,” he says, “why not do it?”
Watching Tucker coach though, you notice there is something different about him. For the first time in his career, Tucker is coaching the entire season barefoot.
“I don’t have the best of feet, so you know I’m doing this for charity,” Tucker jokes. “I’m doing this to bring change.”
The change Tucker wants is to bring, is seeing everyone in the Northland that needs shoes, gets them.
“Shoes are one of the biggest things kids ask for when they start the school year,” Tucker says. “I
t just amazes me, we’re the most powerful country in the world, and you meet people that don’t have shoes.”
Tucker, in his third season leading Northland College’s Women’s Basketball program, partnered with Samartian’s Feet, an organization that gives shoes to people who need them.
“Samaritan’s feet, there was something I really liked about the organization,” said Tucker.
Inspired by one of his mentors, University of North Dakota Men’s Basketball Coach Brian Jones, who also went barefoot for Samaritan’s Feet, Tucker wants to raise roughly $8,000 this season.
“I felt that’s what’s needed in this area,” he says. “From Duluth all the way to (the Upper Peninsula of) Michigan, this kind of beltway here, I felt they got a lot of kids, a lot of poverty here.”
Tucker was only going to coach barefoot at home, but decided if he’s going to do it, he’s going to really do it.
“Something just told me if you’re going to go for home games, you might as well just do every game,” Tucker said. “It’s been an interesting journey so far.”
That journey has included everything from laughs from opposing fans, to fears for his feet’s safety.
“Initially we were worried about stepping on his toes,” said Northland senior Briana Tody. “Coach gets a little excited, he’s always up and around and on the court.”
Tucker’s act serves as an inspiration for Tody and other Northland players.
“He does it for all the right reasons,” said Tody of her coach’s desire to help his community. “He helps us realize that there’s more to life than just basketball. If he can do something as simple as not wear shoes for a season to make a difference, raise awareness, raise money, help the community; he’ll do anything to do that.”
Tucker is grateful for the opportunity to coach at Northland. As a mentor, he hopes his act resonates with the team for the rest of their lives.
“I hope this inspires them to know a little act is going to bring awareness, and all it takes is one person to make a difference,” said Tucker.
Not only is Tucker making a difference at Northland College, he’s making a difference for the entire Northland.