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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

UConn's Tuck proud her parents practice what they preach

There was rarely any middle ground when Morgan Tuck was growing up. Her strict but fair parents went to great lengths to teach Morgan and older sister Taylor right from wrong and not to be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

I have found Tuck's parents to be very much like their daughter - respectful and somewhat content to remain out of the spotlight. When they were among the parents to send letters complaining about the coaching tactics of the Illinois coaching staff (Morgan's older sister Taylor just finished her four-year run at Illinois), I was a little surprised. However, Morgan believes that they were merely acting in a fashion consistent with how they raised their family. They also waited until Taylor's playing days had come to an end so it was not a case of the Tucks acting like stage parents but instead believing it was the right thing to step up about the allegations including systematically trying to create racial tension within the team.

"My mom is a little more outspoken than my dad but I think it does mean a lot because our parents always taught us to stand up for what you believe in and stand up for what you believe is right," Tuck said at Monday's American Athletic Conference women's basketball media day. "Taylor told me all the time about her experience at her school and when I compared it to mine, it was completely opposite not only winning and losing but how you enjoy it. I think what they are trying to do is make it better for the people who are there and hopefully nobody else has to go through what she has to go through when she was there and I think it means a lot.

"Winning makes a difference but just my experience and I really enjoy being at UConn, I enjoy the people I am around and I couldn't see myself being anywhere else. It is something I wish Taylor could have had and I wish she would have had the same experience I have had."

As for Taylor Tuck, she is currently enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth taking classes so she can pursue a Masters degree as she looks to have a career in health administration.

I've heard of coaches making financial gifts to their schools including Geno Auriemma and his wife Kathy coming up with the lead gift of $80,000 to the Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund at UConn.

South Florida coach Jose Fernandez and his wife Tonya have also gone about giving back to the school that has brought them so much joy and stability as he became the first active USF coach to endow a scholarship.

The first Jose & Tonya Fernandez Women's Basketball Scholarship will be given out next season and at AAC media day he discussed what led to this generous move.

"I am going into my 16th season, my wife and I are very passionate about the school and there are so many things we can do," Fernandez said. "We get caught up in winning games, I've had so many wonderful student-athletes that I have had an opportunity to coach and you want to leave a legacy.

"Tampa and USF has been home for us and we wanted to do something that other people step up and follow and our end goal is to have all of them endowed. We get paid pretty nicely to coach women's basketball so something like that we can give back, I am very lucky to have the opportunity to be able to do it."

Having his wife's name on the scholarship is also very important to Fernandez.

"She runs the house, kids, dogs and my wife does a great job on social media," Fernandez said with a laugh.

Neither Fernandez nor his wife can determine who is given the scholarship, that will be handled through USF Foundation channels.

"He is that kind of guy," USF All-American guard Courtney Williams said. "He and his wife are great people so it wasn't a surprise to me because I have known him for four years. I think he has been with this program for a long time and he is well respected and I definitely think it is a great thing."



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