Approximately five miles separate the campuses of Maranatha and Pasadena highs.
On Tuesday afternoon, though, the schools and more correctly, their boys’ basketball futures, were joined at the hip, as Maranatha announced the hiring of longtime Bulldogs Coach Tim Tucker, who will take over for Tim Godley, the Minutemen’s five-year coach who announced his resignation the same day.
Tucker arrives at Maranatha after 18 years at Pasadena and was the second-most senior coach in the Pasadena-area, trailing only Pasadena Poly’s Brad Hall (28 years).
Yet, success was second to none in the area for Tucker, who led the Bulldogs to nine straight Pacific League championships and, most recently, a CIF Southern Section Division III-AAA crown in 2011-12.
“It’s very emotional for me having been at Pasadena for almost 20 years and being only the third coach in the school’s history,” Tucker said. “I had big shoes to fill when I got here and I really had some doubts early on, but now, I feel like I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to accomplish.
“I feel good about moving on to another chapter in my life. I needed some distance, something to rejuvenate me. I had been here for a while and I needed something else.”
Overall, Tucker won four CIF Southern Section championships as both a player and coach at Pasadena, including titles in 1977 and 1978 on the court, and in 2007 and 2012 on the bench.
Tucker’s championship pedigree made him an instant draw, as Maranatha has never reached a CIF championship game and is looking to close the gap.
“First of all, Tim Tucker is a man of God and a man who develops character well before developing basketball skills,” Maranatha athletic director Brian DeHaan said. “When the opportunity came to bring him here, we jumped on it. Anyone who has ever played for Tuck knows what type of a man he is and we’re proud to welcome him to the Minuteman family.”
While Pasadena has reached 11 CIF Southern Section championship titles, Maranatha came closest in arguably Godley’s best year in 2010-11.
That season, Maranatha captured its first league title since an Alpha League crown in 2007-08, finished with 24 victories (the most wins by a Maranatha team this century) and advanced to the semifinals of the Division IV-A playoffs. The team also qualified to the CIF State Division IV playoffs for the first time in school history.
Overall, Godley finished with a 93-49 record (.655 winning percentage) and led the Minutemen to five postseason appearances, five playoff victories and one league championship.
Godley emailed the Sun on Tuesday afternoon, stating his decision to leave Maranatha basketball happened because, “it was time to seek other opportunities.”
He further added, “There are a couple of positions that I have my eye on, perhaps taking another crack at the college ranks at some level. I plan on continuing to teach at Maranatha for several years. [It’s now] time with family and some rest.”
As for the future of Pasadena, Tucker is already lobbying for his successor.
“As coaches, we want our assistants to have a chance to coach and Tony Brooks is the perfect fit for PHS,” Tucker said. “He’s been with me for 15 years and like myself [and former Bulldogs coaches] George Terzian and Bill Duwe, he’s a Bulldog, too.”
Tucker’s hiring comes a little less than year after he said he was interested, but ultimately balked at an opportunity to take the La Salle coaching vacancy later filled by Jelani Gardner.
At the time, Tucker said he wasn’t interested in another high school gig, but would keep his ear open for a college coaching position.
“We had some conversations with La Salle people last year and I was close, but decided to pull my name out of the [running],” Tucker said. “I didn’t regret it, but I did question whether I made the right decision.
“With Maranatha, God gave me a second opportunity and they made me feel appreciated and welcomed and that’s all someone at my age can ask for.”
As for his predecessor, Tucker had high praise.
“Tim has done a great job here in building a program. They just had a great Division I player in Jeremy Major here, so the talent is here,” Tucker said.
As for Maranatha basketball under his watch, Tucker made a quick promise: “If you don’t know about Maranatha, you will soon.”