Charleston Southern names Mark Tucker as new head football coach

Charleston Southern names Mark Tucker as new head football coach

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern University head football coach Jamey Chadwell has resigned his position to accept the Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator position at Coastal Carolina University, Athletic Director Hank Small announced Sunday evening.

Small also announced that quarterback coach Mark Tucker will be CSU's next head football coach, effective immediately.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Charleston Southern University will hold a press conference on Wednesday, January 11 at 1 p.m., to introduce new head football coach Mark Tucker. The press conference will be held in Buccaneer Fieldhouse and is open to the public. The conference will also be streamed live via the Big South Network. WATCH HERE

"Jamey Chadwell has done an outstanding job in leading our program to great success and we thank him and wish him well," Small said of Chadwell. "He has assembled a very good staff for us to draw from in the hopes of continuing our championship play."

Tucker, 54, becomes the fourth head coach in CSU history.

"Mark Tucker has great experience and success as a football coach and has proven to be an outstanding recruiter," Small said. "It is clear that he has impacted the lives of those around him and we look forward to his leadership of our players and our quality staff."

Tucker, a Charleston, S.C. native, coached Chadwell at East Tennessee State and was an assistant at The Citadel in the 1990s.

He inherits a team that has posted 35 wins over the last four seasons - the most over a four-year stretch in program history. The Bucs have been ranked for 21 consecutive weeks over the last two years after appearing in the national rankings just once in the program's first 22 seasons.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity," Tucker said. "I'm looking forward to leading these young men that we, as a staff, have a long-standing relationship with. We've built this team based on all the right things, and feel we're doing it the right way. We don't just talk about family, but we live it out here. I'm really excited to lead these young men and we're ready to get back to work."

Tucker has been influential over the past four seasons as the Buccaneers' offense developed into one of the top rushing attacks in the nation. During his tenure, he developed consistent quarterback play with Shane Bucenell, Austin Brown, Kyle Copeland, Malcolm Dixon, and Danny Croghan all making significant impacts on the way to leading the Bucs to back-to-back Big South Conference titles and FCS playoff berths.

Tucker's impact was showcased with the rapid development of Bucenell in 2016 as the Buccaneers again sat among national leaders in time of possession and rushing. Bucenell, twice named the Big South Freshman of the Week, shined when the Bucs needed him most with a season-high four touchdown passes in CSU's double overtime win over Coastal Carolina. He added three touchdowns apiece in wins over Bucknell and Liberty in guiding the Bucs' to a Big South championship and a berth in the FCS Playoffs.

Brown earned second team All-Big South honors in 2015. He peaked at the right time to help lead CSU to an outright Big South Conference championship and the Bucs' first-ever berth in the FCS Playoffs. He played one of the best halves of his career in the Bucs' win over top-ranked Coastal Carolina and passed for a CSU career-best 301 yards in the triumph over Liberty.

Copeland also developed under Tucker's watch in 2015. Copeland earned a start against ETSU and passed for a career-high 177 yards. He also started against Alabama, and played much of the FCS playoff quarterfinal game against top-seeded Jacksonville State, helping power the Bucs' offense to 38 points.

Tucker helped guide a CSU offense that led the country in time of possession for a second straight season in 2014. He aided Brown in his acclimation to Chadwell's spread option offense. Brown grew in his feel for the offense and played some of his best football in CSU's three-game winning streak to end the Big South season. For the year, the UAB transfer threw for 1,848 yards and 11 touchdowns while also tallying 254 rushing yards and five more scores. 

Tucker's experience proved valuable for CSU in 2013, as the Bucs set a school record with 10 victories to earn a No. 22 final national ranking. Under Tucker, Dixon played the best football of his career to pace CSU to a 4-0 start. When Dixon went down with an injury during the fourth quarter of the Appalachian State game, Tucker was then able to mentor a pair of freshmen in Croghan and Copeland. The Bucs continued to win even without their veteran signal-caller, as Croghan ran up a 5-1 record as a starter to earn Big South Offensive Freshman of the Year honors. Copeland too showed flashes of his potential, starting twice and rushing for 230 yards and three touchdowns.

Tucker is a former assistant at two Southern Conference schools. He spent four seasons at ETSU, where he coached the offensive line for one season and running backs and tight ends for two years.

In his six seasons as an assistant at The Citadel, Tucker was part of record-setting offenses for the Bulldogs. He served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during his final season in 1996.

Prior to being named offensive coordinator, he coached offensive skill players over a three-year stretch during some of the Bulldogs' best seasons in school history. In 1994, The Citadel set the national rushing record with 382.6 yards per game, which led all divisions. He was also part of the Bulldogs squad that reached the I-AA Quarterfinals and won the Southern Conference championship in 1992. That team was ranked No. 1 in the national poll during the season. He was also an assistant at The Citadel for one season in 1988 when the Bulldogs reached the I-AA Playoffs and were ranked 14th nationally.

Tucker played at ETSU from 1982-1986 and was a three-year letterman at quarterback.

Tucker is a 1987 graduate of ETSU and has four children, Emilee (Tucker) Howard (27), Ammanda (25), Andrew Joseph (24), and Alexis (21). He is married to the former Wendy Hatch.

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