Loras College President Jim Collins announced today that Loras College All-Sports Camp Director Dr. Robert Tucker and Associate Director Judy Tucker, will retire from their respective positions on Dec. 31. The Tuckers’ decision to retire will bring to a close nearly seven decades of combined service and dedication to the College, students and campers.
“Bob and Judy have both had extraordinary professional success as teachers and coaches,” said Collins. “Thirty-four years ago, they took a risk by developing a camp for kids which not only taught athletic skills, but life and faith skills. They invested hours and plenty of their own money to start something that no one but them could imagine becoming so great. Loras will forever be grateful to the Tuckers for living the mission and serving so faithfully all these years,” Collins concluded.
“We have given this decision a great deal of prayerful consideration and it has not been easy. We have spent the last 34 years of our lives and our marriage devoted to ‘Living the Paddle.’ As we move into the next phase in our lives our prayer is that God will continue to bless the All-Sports Camp, the campers, the staff and the Loras College administrative team,” said Robert. “We plan to try to learn to relax, spend more time with family, travel—besides to camp fairs—and of course, be available to help where we are needed with the ministry of the All-Sports Camp.”
The Loras College All-Sports Camp originated in 1982, when Robert, associate professor of physical education and head track and field coach at the time, and his wife, Judy presented a proposal to the Loras College administration for a children’s sports camp. The Tuckers envisioned an environment where female and male campers, 8-14 years old would not only hone their athletic skills, but develop Christian values and citizenship. The concept of an all-sports camp was unique—there was nothing like it available in the Midwest.
The Tuckers received approval and the first Loras College All-Sports Camp session began June 19, 1983 with two one-week sessions available. A total of 185 highly energetic and enthusiastic young athletes attended the camp, selecting one “major” sport and two additional “minor” sports. Core instruction included basketball, golf, racquetball, soccer, swimming and track and field with the addition of football, baseball and wrestling for the boys and volleyball, as well as softball and gymnastics for the girls.
Today, the Loras College All-Sports Camp has mentored more than 50,000 children. Entering its 34th season, the camp has 2,300 campers a year, with four one-week sessions available. In addition, the camp has grown from offering ten core sports to more 40 majors and minors including everything from the traditional soccer, basketball, baseball and track/field to modern archery, horseback riding, trapshooting and ultimate Frisbee.
“We are overwhelmed by how God has blessed us and the Loras College All-Sports Camp,” said Judy. “The number of lasting relationships we have developed over the years are too numerous to even count and we hope to see many of these relationships continue into the future.”
Dr. Robert Tucker came to Loras College in 1981 to serve as the head men’s and women’s track and field coach and chair of the Physical Education Department. Among his many successes during his Loras tenure, Robert broadened the scope of the Physical Education Department, adding the sports management, sport science and athletic training majors. Furthermore, under Robert’s direction, the Physical Education Department grew to hold the third largest number of majors on campus. Judy is a certified K-12 counselor and served as education specialist and counselor at Hempstead High School in Dubuque, Iowa.
In addressing transition, President Collins announced Tom Kult (’96, MA’99) as the new director of Loras College All-Sports Camp, with the Tuckers generously serving as consultants. A 15-year instructor of kinesiology at the College, Kult was previously the Loras College All-Sports Camp assistant director for seven years. Now entering his 24th year with the camp, Kult began his extensive Loras College All-Sports Camp career as a counselor in 1993 when he was still a Loras College student.
“I feel incredibly blessed to be named director of the All-Sports Camp,” said Kult. “This camp means a lot to me and I am honored to be given the opportunity to continue the success that Bob and Judy have developed over the years. I am looking forward to carrying on the excellence and traditions of the camp and I am thankful for the support of the Loras College community.”
Kult has also served the College as the assistant track and field coach, assistant football coach, and strength and conditioning coordinator. Kult earned his bachelor’s degree in sports science from Loras College in 1996 and his master’s in physical education: administration in 1999.