After 42 seasons (38 at Norfolk Academy and four at St. Anne’s-Belfield School) and a remarkable 559 wins, making him the 10th all-time winningest high school lacrosse coach in the country, National Hall of Fame member Coach Tom Duquette has decided to step down. Coach Duquette, who joined the Norfolk Academy faculty in 1981, will continue to serve as math department chair and teach math in the Upper School. Coach Duquette’s students’ results on the AP BC Calculus exam during this same period of time would be considered a similarly Olympian achievement.
Coach Duquette’s accomplishments as a player and coach tower over the national lacrosse landscape: At Norfolk Academy he has led teams to seven State Championships; 13 Virginia Prep League Championships; and 21 TCIS Championships, and he has never had a losing season in 42 campaigns. He has also garnered 22 Coach of the Year Awards (VPL; TCIS; VISAA; US Lacrosse). Over 120 of Coach Duquette’s former players have gone on to play college lacrosse, with 20 having captained their college teams, while four have played professionally. Three former players have represented their country as members of a U.S. National Team. He also served five years as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia. Coach Duquette is a member of the Halls of Fame of the Greater Baltimore and the Charlottesville Chapters of US Lacrosse, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and the US Lacrosse National Hall of Fame.
Coach Duquette played for Hall of Fame coach George Chandlee at Gilman, winning the Tyler Campbell Varsity Lacrosse Cup as a senior, was a four-time All-American and two-time national champion at the University of Virginia and in 1973 captained the Virginia team and was awarded the Dr. Allen Voshell Lacrosse Trophy as its Most Valuable Player. Coach Duquette was the MVP of the 1973 North-South College All-Star game and was a member of the 1974 World Champion U.S. National Lacrosse Team.
In a bit of serendipity and destiny, Coach Duquette first met his successor, Ryan Tucker, eight years ago, while coaching him as a member of the world championship-winning Under-19 U.S. National Team. Coach Tucker takes the reins with other remarkable parallels to Coach Duquette’s life and career. Like Coach Duquette, Coach Tucker is a Gilman alumnus and winner of the Campbell Cup; a University of Virginia alumnus; a captain, All-American, and Voshell Trophy winner at the University of Virginia; and a gifted teacher, not of math but history. Coach Tucker was recently honored by Middle School students with the “Teacher of the Year” award and voted by his colleagues as the recipient of the James B. Massey Teaching Prize awarded at senior graduation. In the summer months, Coach Tucker plays professionally for the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
Coach Tucker comes from a pedigreed lacrosse background: his mother, Janine Tucker, has been the head women’s lacrosse coach at Johns Hopkins University for 25 years and is the all-time winningest coach in Johns Hopkins University athletic history. Coach Tucker’s father John is a member of the National Hall of Fame and has taught, coached lacrosse at the secondary and professional levels, and served in administrative positions in secondary education.
The other lacrosse coaches have signaled their appreciation and affirmation of Coach Tucker’s having been tapped to author the next chapter in Norfolk Academy lacrosse. Upper School Physics Teacher, Sixth Form Dean, Head Girls Varsity Basketball Coach, and long-time Assistant Boys Varsity Lacrosse Coach Neil Duffy offered, “I knew that Coach Tucker represents the future of the program and informed Mr. Manning that Coach Tucker should be on the top of the list. I absolutely can’t wait to do what I can to support Coach Tucker and our players as we move forward.” Middle School History Teacher, Global Affairs Fellows Director, and Assistant Varsity Boys Lacrosse Coach Jack Gibson reflected, “Our players simply love Coach Duke, and they demonstrate that with their play, every single day.” Gibson also added, “I could not be more excited about the future of Norfolk Academy boys lacrosse. Over the last several years, Ryan Tucker has demonstrated that he is one of the great young minds in the game, but more importantly, Ryan has proven to be a true leader, a natural mentor of young people, and selflessly dedicated to the mission of Norfolk Academy. I can’t think of a better person to follow such a titan of both our school and the game of lacrosse.”
As a historic era of Norfolk Academy boys lacrosse closes and a new one begins, we will announce plans later this fall to honor Coach Duquette and the Duquette era at Norfolk Academy, one of the most storied in the school’s and the sport’s history. For now, we will marvel at and take great pride in Coach Duquette’s remarkable accomplishments as an extraordinary teacher, coach, and inspirational leader, while celebrating our school’s great good fortune to have such a successor in Coach Ryan Tucker, who enjoys the confidence and affirmation of Coach Duquette and the entire Academy lacrosse family.
*The letter above was sent to the Norfolk Academy community by Headmaster Dennis G. Manning on August 1.