Camaraderie and teamwork are
elements to a successful organization, whether it’s Trinity football or a major
company, such as Coach, Incorporated. Just ask Mike Tucci, Class of 1982 and
president of North American retail at Coach, Inc.
“Business and sports are very
relatable,” the former Bantam safety said. “Having a team mentality, focus,
determination, and drive are very important to the success of a good business,
and that’s one of the reasons athletes make good business people.”
Tucci, a former standout
player at the College, says he injects team strategy into many of his
business decisions. After nine years as a business executive at the GAP, and more than
11 years at Macy’s before that, Tucci now oversees all retail in the United
States and Canada for an already well-established company on the upswing, Coach,
Inc. Tucci, a natural winner, has shown a pattern of success, wherever he is.
The stock price of Coach has shot up from about $8 a share in January of 2003,
when Tucci joined the company, to nearly $30 a share today. In his playing days
at Trinity, Tucci’s Bantams compiled a 22-10 record, thanks in part to his
talent and leadership, though Tucci would credit the team mentality for the
successes in both cases.
The business-minded Tucci
didn’t major in economics or finance at Trinity, rather in English, in which he
received his B.A. He stays well connected to the College in numerous ways,
including mentoring players as well as helping them network, providing financial
assistance, and most recently serving on the school’s Board of Fellows.
“I have a good relationship
with the school,” he said. “I’m a strong supporter of the football team…I think
it’s very important for players to learn what opportunities exist outside of
Trinity on a post-graduate level.”
Tucci praised current Head Coach Jeff Devanney, a 1993 Trinity graduate, for his
effort in reaching out to alums. “Jeff has done a very good job
at trying to reconnect with former players who want to stay involved,” Tucci
said. “That might have something to do with the fact that he went to Trinity.”
Coach Devanney credits caring
alums, such as Tucci, as serving as a backbone to the strong football program at
“Mike Tucci has been a highly
energetic and caring alum in the years that I have been here,” Devanney said.
“He has made significant contributions financially and has also given his time.
He has participated every year in our career service event and has counseled a
number of our players on career prospects. Mike has a strong passion for Trinity
and it is people like him that make our program so successful in many ways.”
But it was another head coach
that Tucci shared his success with as a player - a coach that will be forever
engrained in the history books at Trinity - Don Miller.
“We all loved him,” Tucci said
about his former coach. “He was very unique, very long on tradition, and an
offensive wizard. Much of the offensive strategies began with him.”
Miller, who always wore his
trademark coaching pants, a Trinity windbreaker, and a white athletic towel
wrapped around his neck, was described as a “character” by Tucci.
“He was always very loyal to
his players,” Tucci added.
And loyalty is a trait that
Miller hasn’t lost. Twenty-six years later, Miller could pick up the phone at
his Wethersfield home and recite a litany about Tucci, one of the many players
he’s coached in his 31 years at Trinity, where he compiled an impressive
“He was a blue-chip player,”
Miller said without hesitation. “Mike was an outstanding defensive back, a
leader. He was very bright, and made few mistakes. He was a wonderful guy to
Miller retired from Trinity after the 1998 season, and remains in the game as a volunteer coach at the United States Coast Guard Academy.
“There was great camaraderie
during my time at Trinity,” Miller added. “Those were some very good times with
a really wonderful group.”
And as Tucci would tell you, it’s all about camaraderie.