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Howard's End

As some of you may have seen in today's paper or on our web site, Howard University has decided to dump head coach Keith Tucker after 26 seasons. While his dismissal was inevitable after several poor seasons, Tucker's tenure will be remembered most for that 1988 squad that advanced to the NCAA championship game. The Bison were absolutely devastating that autumn, an independent program that scored in every game but two and offered a fast-paced style that attracted big crowds to Greene Stadium.

Shaka Hislop was a freshman goalkeeper from Trinidad, already showing signs of future greatness. Peter Isaacs was the cocky, fleet-footed forward from Jamaica. There were the Williams brothers from Montgomery County and a band of unknown players from Nigeria and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Hislop SCORED the winning penalty kick in an NCAA tournament game, but the most memorable moment was the quarterfinal victory over Bruce Arena's top-ranked Virginia team. The Bison allowed an early goal, and then another, and when Drew Fallon of UVA stepped up to take a penalty kick, Howard's season was on the brink of ending. Hislop, though, made the save, sparking the Bison's comeback. It was 2-1 at the half, 2-2 by midway in the second half and after scoring in overtime against Tony Meola, Howard was on to the final four.

Howard has only been back to the NCAA tournament twice since, a sad decline for a proud program. We'll miss Keith Tucker, a man of few words but intense passion for the sport, and hope the athletic department chooses wisely when selecting a new coach.

By Steve Goff  |  January 23, 2007; 8:54 AM ET
Categories:  College Soccer  
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Comments

That was the best game I've ever seen in my life. Truly amazing. Both HU and UVA played beautiful soccer.

On another point I'm glad Tucker is gone. He hasn't recruited well and is devoted to a system that doesn't work without the players. Outside of that one year Tucker's teams have been disappointing. I welcome new coaching blood at the Mecca. Hopefully the AD will treat this seriously and make a good hire.

Posted by: Omar | January 23, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Howard will not put any resources into soccer, though it is one sport in which it could compete with sufficient recruiting effort. But football and basketball mentality still reign -- to the extent sports matter at Howard at all. Actually, I think it quite ok that sports are decidedly secondary to academics.

Posted by: Soccershodan | January 23, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what Lincoln Phillips is up to these days?

Posted by: Tom | January 23, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Peter Isaacs was the best player ever to play college soccer in this entire area. include Penn schools and NC schools to this one ! lets have some respect for Coach Tucker and what he brought

Posted by: HU 4 life | January 23, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

By the way, the Final Four goalies that year included Hislop, Kasey Keller (Portland) and Juergen Sommer (Indiana). All went on to the English league. The fourth was Charlie Arndt (South Carolina), a Silver Spring native.

Posted by: Goff | January 23, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Lincoln is the technical advisor to the T & T Soccer Association. From what I hear he's doing a good job of finding Trini talent from all corners of the world.

Posted by: Omar | January 24, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

HU 4 life, I'm HU for life as well. I've been watching HU soccer for a lot of years. I have family that played in the program. If Tucker couldn't get the right players for his system it didn't work. After that one year he couldn't get the players so it hurt the team. Furthermore, his inflexibility and HU's inattention have hurt what was once a great program.

Posted by: Omar | January 24, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse


Not many people remember but the US soccer team has Shaka Hislop to thank for their success at the 2002 World Cup.

As I remember it, during qualifying, the US only went through because of a T&T win over Costa Rica behind an unbelievable Hislop who made a series of insane saves as his team was only playing with 10 men. Costa Rica could've scored 4 easily. Don't remember the details but the US was sent through by Costa Rica's loss. Thanks Shaka!

Posted by: john | January 24, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

"As I remember it, during qualifying, the US only went through because of a T&T win over Costa Rica behind an unbelievable Hislop who made a series of insane saves as his team was only playing with 10 men. Costa Rica could've scored 4 easily. Don't remember the details but the US was sent through by Costa Rica's loss. Thanks Shaka!"

Actually, T&T's only win in the Hexagonals was over Honduras, not Costa Rica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_FIFA_World_Cup_qualification_(CONCACAF)). It is true that combined with a USA win over Jamaica that day, the Yanks clinched a spot, with one match to spare. However, the USA would probably have qualified anyway. With passage to Korea secure, the USA B side played a meaningless scoreless draw with T&T in the last match.

Posted by: Go Penn State! | January 25, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the news on HU and keep us posted on the search.

Posted by: Dale | January 26, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Keith Tucker coached with integrity. He cared about his players and never said a bad word about anyone. I would be surprised if he was ever sent off from the sidelines despite his team being screwed by the officials -- a lot.
The problem at Howard is the lack of support... now they also have a challenge to replace a coach who always tried to play fun soccer and always respresented the school and the sport with the highest amount of respect.

Posted by: Expert | January 26, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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