Beloved Salem High School Athletic Trainer calls it a career after 29 years

Submitted photo
Tucker holding up the VHSL 2018 Baseball State Champions hardware on his last day.

When most people hear the name Chris Tucker, the actor best known for the films “Friday” and “Rush Hour 2” comes to mind. For the last 29 years, the community has come to know Salem High School’s Chris Tucker, an employee at the school since 1989 who decided to call it a career in June.

Tucker, who was born in Massachusetts and raised in Indiana, has always had a passion for sports.

“I was the youngest of four boys. Crawfordsville is a small town of 15,000 with just one high school,” he said. “We lived on a small court with plenty of children to play with. I was active in all kinds of sports, scouting, church and school politics as a child.”

After graduating from high school in 1973, Tucker went on to continue his education at Indiana University where he was a member of the swim team. While in Bloomington, Tucker had an opportunity to work with legendary coaches Bobby Knight and Lee Corso.

By the time he came to Salem High School, Tucker was ready to hit the ground running. In 1989, he was named the school’s athletic trainer. Over the years, he also taught several courses in physical education, science and anatomy.

“I was told when I was hired, ‘if you need it, you will get it. If you want it, then we will get it for you in a timely manner,’” Tucker said. “I have never needed or wanted for anything in regards to my job, in the classroom or training room. Of the five schools that I taught at, Salem High is by far the most supportive.”

Winning three straight state football championships on two different occasions ranks very high among Tucker’s most cherished memories. Other standout moments include: the boys and girls basketball team winning the state championship on the same day, the girl’s soccer team overcoming adversity to win a state title and winning the baseball state championship at home at the bottom of the seventh with two outs on his last day of coverage as the athletic trainer.

Jay Smith, a 1997 Salem High graduate, has very fond memories of Tucker.

“I was never good enough to make any of the varsity teams, but Mr. Tucker always made me feel like I mattered. Some schools excel at just one sport. At Salem High, we excel at everything,” Smith said. “I think I speak for everyone when I say that Mr. Tucker will be missed.”

Salem High School also said goodbye to three other longtime employees this year

  • Anna Dyer, science teacher
  • Regina Merrideth, head guidance counselor
  • Susie Rudolph, financial secretary

Now that he’s retired, Chris plans on spending more time with his family.

“My wife retired from teaching ten years ago and has kept our grandkids, so I plan to help her with that. I have been extremely blessed, so I want to return that with volunteering in our community,” he said. “I also want to travel and see our country, get the dust off my golf clubs and see my two brothers from time to time. I have been blessed by this community to have their support over the years.”

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