Jan. 18, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior defender/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) has been selected as one of five finalists for the 2014 Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, it was announced earlier this week by award’s organizer, Athletes for a Better World. The award recipient will be named on Wednesday, April 23 during a ceremony held at the Atlanta History Center in Atlanta, Ga.
Now in its 10th year, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to two distinguished athletes, one collegiate and one professional, for their character and leadership both on and off the field and their contributions to sport and society. Tucker is the second Notre Dame student-athlete in the past three years to be named a finalist for the honor, following the path first walked by baseball’s Tommy Chase in 2012.
Drew Brees, the seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, will be honored as this year’s professional recipient of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. Brees, who includes the 2009 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and the 2010 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year among his numerous honors, has been closely involved with the rebuilding of the city of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Part of his work in the community came after he and his wife, Brittany, founded the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003, with the organization contributing and/or committing more than $17 million to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need.
Five collegiate finalists will be honored and recognized during the ceremony but only one will receive the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. The collegiate finalists include:
- Elizabeth Tucker – University of Notre Dame – Soccer
- Aaron Craft – Ohio State University – Basketball
- Kelly Dennis – Chestnut Hill College – Tennis
- Dau Jok – University of Pennsylvania – Basketball
- Jeffrey Rappucci – College of the Holy Cross – Hockey
“I’m incredibly grateful to have been named a finalist for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup,” Tucker said. “It is really an honor to be associated, even in the smallest way, with a coach who has been held up to me repeatedly throughout my athletic career as the true model of sportsmanship and character. I feel blessed and fortunate to be included with such a worthy group of finalists for the collegiate Wooden Cup, along with an amazing humanitarian in Drew Brees, and I’m proud to be able to represent Notre Dame as a candidate for this outstanding award.”
Tucker has served as a Notre Dame women’s soccer tri-captain for the past two seasons, helping the Fighting Irish to four consecutive NCAA Championship berths during her career, including the 2010 national title and a spot in the 2012 NCAA quarterfinals. She appeared in all 92 of Notre Dame’s matches during her career, starting 87 times while finishing with 19 goals and 14 assists.
Off the pitch, Tucker donates an incredible amount of time to numerous local, regional and even national community service projects, in addition to being an active contributor in several campus groups, both inside and outside the Notre Dame athletics department.
Tucker is extremely involved in the Irish Fight For Life program, which pairs teams and student-athletes with a patient in the pediatric Hematology/Oncology unit at South Bend’s Memorial Hospital, providing the patients and their families with support as they undergoing treatment for various types of cancers.
Tucker also has participated in the Adopt-a-Family, Ronald McDonald House, Pediatric Christmas Party and Perley Elementary Tutor programs. She also has taken part in meet-and-greet events at local area middle schools, as well as soccer clinics throughout the South Bend area, notably with Michiana Special Olympians.
In addition, Tucker is part of the Notre Dame Tax Assistance Program, which annually goes out into the South Bend and surrounding communities to help low-income and disabled citizens with the preparation of the tax returns.
On campus, Tucker is highly invested in helping younger Notre Dame students reach their goals through the Notre Dame Peer Advisor Program, in which she meets with 50 freshmen to discuss their academic progress and social concerns. What’s more, within Notre Dame’s top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, Tucker served two years as a teaching assistant in two courses — Managerial Economics and Information Technology Management.
Tucker also is an active member of two highly-regarded Notre Dame student-athlete groups — the Rosenthal Leadership Academy and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC).
Tucker, one of more than 100 student-athletes representing 26 Fighting Irish athletic teams, participated in the Rosenthal Leadership Academy for two years (2011-12 and 2013-14). The Rosenthal Leadership Academy is one of the nation’s premier leadership development programs in collegiate athletics, developing, challenging and supporting student-athletes and coaches in their continual quest to become world-class leaders in athletics, academics and life. The Rosenthal Leadership Academy provides comprehensive and cutting edge leadership-development programming through interactive workshops, 360-degree feedback, one-on-one coaching, peer mentoring and educational resources.
Tucker currently is in her second year on the Notre Dame Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) board. Along with fellow women’s soccer captain Katie Naughton, Tucker was selected to participate in the 58-member group. The SAAC meets once a month for about two hours to discuss critical issues that affect the experiences of student-athletes. The topics include NCAA legislation, career opportunities, networking, hazing and healthy nutrition. The group initiates new programming ideas, participates in community service projects and acts as the student-athlete group liaison to athletic administration.
The SAAC promotes efficient communication between the Notre Dame Department of Athletics administration and the student-athlete population. The SAAC gives student-athletes an opportunity to effectively communicate with the athletic department staff while providing suggestions and feedback on programs/services designed to meet student-athlete needs. The SAAC provides and promotes service to fellow student-athletes, the University community and the greater community at large.
A candidate for a 2013 Rhodes Scholarship and both NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) postgraduate scholarships later this year, as well as a possible choice to be named valedictorian for the Notre Dame Class of 2014, Tucker maintains a spotless 4.000 grade-point average in the Mendoza College of Business as an accounting major, and she has earned Dean’s List honors each semester she has attended the University. She also was a two-time first-team Capital One Academic All-America selection in 2012 and 2013 (one of just 15 Notre Dame student-athletes ever to earn first-team Academic All-America honors twice, and only the third Fighting Irish women’s soccer player), and she made three consecutive appearances on the BIG EAST Conference All-Academic Team.
Founded by Athletes for a Better World, a non-profit organization committed to changing the culture of American sports, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is open to athletes in all collegiate and professional sports.
John Wooden, who won 10 national championships as basketball coach at UCLA, is regarded as the greatest college coach of all time. Universally regarded as one of the finest human beings in the world of sports, his character, conduct and selfless gifts stand at the highest level by any standard. When Coach Wooden learned about Athletes for a Better World, he gave permission for his name to be associated with the annual award and spoke at the inaugural event in Los Angeles in 2005.
Recipients of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are chosen by a committee chaired by Vincent Dooley, former University of Georgia athletics director, and other distinguished individuals involved in athletics across the country.
The Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is one of the most prestigious awards in sports. Previous professional recipients include Jack Nicklaus, Pat Summitt, Dikembe Mutombo, Mia Hamm, Peyton Manning, John Smoltz, John Lynch, Andrea Jaeger and Cal Ripken Jr.
About Athletes for a Better World: Founded in 1998, Athletes for a Better World (ABW) exists to change the culture of sport by developing individual character, teamwork and civic responsibility through commitment to the Code for Living. ABW’s vision is to have the code become a part of every sport at every level. ABW provides free support and resources to coaches and athletes across the country who want to teach and live out these values. ABW’s Code for Living can be found on playing fields, locker rooms and athletic facilities across the country. Currently, ABW players and coaches are represented in every state and several foreign countries.
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