Birthdate: May 7, 1955
Birthplace: Charleston, West Virginia
High School: Columbus Franklin Heights High School (1973)
Colleges: Wayland Baptist (1973-74), The Ohio State University (1974-78), University of Illinois (master’s)
Year Inducted: 2023
A premier athlete who was ahead of her time, central Ohio native Robin Tucker was a 20-plus-a-game scorer in high school back when points were at a premium in girls basketball. She took her talents to Wayland Baptist University in Texas to try her hand at a highly competitive intercollegiate level and because that school was the first in the nation to offer full-ride scholarships for women’s basketball.
Tucker was an immediate key player and starting point guard at Wayland, but her heart remained in Ohio – and when Ohio State finally was in position to lure her back with a scholarship, she transferred for her junior year. The result was spectacular as the Buckeyes won back-to-back Big Ten championships, the first ones in program history. In her senior season, she nailed a 20-foot, game-winning shot in the Big Ten title game as the Buckeyes downed Michigan State, 70-68.
Tucker was the first female player to be named to the Top 25 list of Street and Smith Basketball and when she went on the play in the WBL after leaving college, she became the first Buckeye ever to play women’s professional basketball in the United States. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018 along with other WBL alumna as Trailblazers of the Game and also has been recognized by OSU with the Phyllis Bailey Career Achievement Award.
A true standout of a formative era, Robin long has been known as “Coach Tucker.” After a three-year stint in the WBL, she coached at Lancaster Fisher Catholic High School in 1981-82 and eventually became the head coach at Florida Atlantic, where she was named Converse Coach of the Year in 1985. Tucker also served on the staff at the University of Cincinnati from 1987-89 and then pivoted to teaching physical education at Hilliard City Schools.
In typical fashion, Tucker left an enduring mark on that community and even led efforts to shut down a toxic and hazardous waste disposal company near the elementary school where she taught as well as raise money to defray the medical expenses of children in the area who were diagnosed with leukemia.
In 2019, Tucker’s teams at Wayland Baptist were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, adding to her legend as an early star in women’s basketball. She enters the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame at age 67.