Tuckwin was a student at Haskell Institute. He was a coach and athletics director at Haskell American Indian Junior College. And Tuckwin was AD at Haskell Indian Nations University.
Now Tuckwin, 59, has decided to retire. His last day will be Aug. 3
"I have strong feelings for Haskell," Tuckwin said. "It's my home. I've been involved with the school for 45 years. But it's time to move on. I don't want to stand in the way."
Tuckwin and HINU President Karen Swisher reportedly did not see eye-to-eye on athletics funding. HINU became a full-time member of the NAIA last year in spite of a meager athletics budget.
"I want to see athletics grow at Haskell like the other departments," Tuckwin said, "but the financial constraints we're under I don't think it will grow like it should."
Tuckwin said HINU's athletics budget, exclusive of salaries, is about $100,000.
"Back in 1970," Tuckwin said, "we spent probably 2 1/2 times that amount -- and you know about inflation. We had $100,000 for football alone. Now the football budget is $22,000."
HINU also has two more sports than it did in 1970. The school added softball in 2000 and will start a soccer program this fall.
"It's really tough to compete the way you should," Tuckwin said. "We've been very limited in hiring of staff. You need more financial and administrative support."
Haskell belongs to the Central States Football League, a conference that contains NAIA power Northwestern Oklahoma State, yet the Fightin' Indians have only two football coaches on the payroll -- head coach Graham Snelding and one aide.
"I'm sad he's leaving," said Gary Tanner, HINU's softball and soccer coach. "He's one of my best friends. It's going to be a loss for Haskell. He did a lot of things people didn't see. By that I mean he was community-minded and that's good for Haskell."
Swisher issued a statement, saying Tuckwin "will be missed by the faculty, staff and students at Haskell, but we wish him the best in his well deserved retirement."
Swisher added that "Indian athletes across the country continue to honor Jerry for his role in their athletic experiences at Haskell."
After graduating from Wichita State, Tuckwin returned to Haskell as men's basketball coach and director of student activities in 1965. Then he went into the Air Force for four years.
Tuckwin returned to Lawrence in 1970 as track and cross country and assistant football coach. He's been here ever since. He was first named AD in 1980, a post he held until 1986 when he was named acting director of instruction. In 1990 Tuckwin returned to the AD post.
Last year he took on additional duties as HINU's golf coach.
"I wanted to stay and coach golf," Tuckwin said, "but it couldn't be worked out."
Tuckwin, a native of Mayetta and a member of the Prairie Band of the Pottawatomie, said he plans to work for his tribe, perhaps in conjunction with the Harrah's Casino located on the reservation north of Topeka.
Tuckwin's wife Terry will continue to teach kindergarten at Woodlawn School in North Lawrence.
A reception for Tuckwin is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 3 at Coffin Complex on the HINU campus.
-- Sports editor Chuck Woodling can be reached at 832-7147.