Michael Tucci’82

 

Camaraderie and teamwork are key 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 Trinity.
 

“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 174-77-5 record.
 

“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 coach.”
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.