Mark Tucker was named the head football coach in January 2017. The Charleston native served as the quarterbacks coach the prior four seasons during the most successful run in program history.
The Buccaneers continued their winning ways in 2017 as CSU recorded key wins over Gardner-Webb, Liberty, and Presbyterian to post a 6-5 record and 3-2 mark in Big South play. Defensive end Anthony Ellis was named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, while 11 different players were named to the Big South All-Conference teams.
Tucker was an integral part of a staff that completely transformed CSU Football. CSU has won 35 games over the last four seasons, capturing a pair of Big South Conference championships and FCS playoff berths in the process. The Bucs advanced to the national quarterfinals in 2015 and have been ranked in the top-25 for 22 consecutive weeks dating back to that campaign. The program had been ranked just once in its first 22 years of existence.
Tucker's wealth of experience and depth of knowledge have been instrumental in CSU's growth. His quarterbacks have directed a CSU offense that has ranked among the nation's elite in rushing offense each of the last four years. He has developed consistent quarterback play with Shane Bucenell, Austin Brown, Kyle Copeland, Malcolm Dixon, and Danny Croghan all making significant impacts.
Tucker made his mark again in 2016 as Bucenell excelled in a starting role as a redshirt freshman after the veteran Copeland suffered an early season-ending injury. CSU ranked sixth nationally in rushing on its way to a second straight Big South title and playoff berth with Bucenell at the reins of the offense. He was twice named the Big South Freshman of the Week and shined when the Bucs needed him most with a season-high four touchdown passes in the double overtime win at No. 14 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.
Under Tucker's tutleage, Brown earned second team All-Big South honors in 2015. Brown peaked at the right time to help lead CSU to an outright Big South Conference championship and the program's 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. He 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 lead 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 Jamey 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 also helped direct sophomore Croghan, who sparked the Bucs' offense in a reserve role, particularly in an overtime win at Charlotte.
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, senior 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, a Charleston native, coached former CSU head coach Jamey Chadwell at East Tennessee State and was an assistant at The Citadel in the 1990’s.
In his six seasons as an assistant at The Citadel, Tucker was a part of record-setting offenses for the Bulldogs. In his final season of 1996, he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Tucker is a former assistant at the two Southern Conference schools. Most recently, he spent four seasons at ETSU, where he coached the offensive line for one season and running backs and tight ends for two years.
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 has also served as head coach at Williamsburg Academy and Hargrave Military Academy.
Tucker was the head coach of the Mountain Empire Warriors, a semi-pro football team in the North American Football League. He led the Warriors to a 10-2 record and a Top-10 ranking out of 115 league teams. The Warriors were first in rushing yards at 273 per game and first in total defense and turnover margin.
Tucker played at ETSU from 1982-’86 and was a three-year letterman at quarterback.
Tucker is a 1987 graduate of ETSU and has five children, Emilee (Tucker) Howard (27), Ammanda (25), Andrew Joseph (24), step-son Garrett Duncan (22) and Alexis (21). He is married to the former Wendy Hatch.