Knoxville (UT Release) - John Stucky, who as head of Tennessee s strength and conditioning program in the 1990s helped lift Volunteer football to a national championship level, died Thursday night in Springdale, Ark. He was 59.
Stucky officially resigned from his UT position as assistant athletics director for physical development in June 2002 because of continuing medical problems. He came to the Vols in 1994 after stints at Arkansas (twice), Oklahoma State, North Carolina State, Wichita State and Kansas State. It was at Wichita State from 1974-76 that he met and became friends with then fellow-assistant Phillip Fulmer, who later hired Stucky at Tennessee.
"John Stucky was a great man," Fulmer said. "He meant so much to so many people whose lives he touched. He was a man of great Christian faith and he shared that faith with all who would listen. He was a coach who motivated and inspired young men to reach their potential on and off the playing field.
"Most of all, he was a friend and confidant that I loved as a brother. His illness has been long and hard and I know he is in a better place. All who knew him celebrate his life."
Under Stucky's leadership, first as director of athletic fitness from 1994-96 and then as assistant AD, the Vols compiled an 80-16 record (.833) and won the national championship in 1998. They also captured two Southeastern Conference crowns (1997-98) and three Eastern Division titles in the eight-year span.
In the spring of 2001, Stucky was named one of 10 Master Strength and Conditioning Coaches by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. The title was the highest honor that could be achieved as a strength and conditioning coach.
He also was tabbed national coach of the year in 1996 by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society. Closer to home, Stucky's SEC peers twice picked him as the league's top strength coach.
Stucky, born Feb. 17, 1948, in Moundridge, Kan., was a junior college All-America defensive lineman at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College before advancing to Kansas State and earning All-America honors there as a noseguard. He played at Kansas State from 1968-70 and then played two seasons professionally for the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanne, and his son, Phillip.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to local chapters of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The UT FCA is located at 406 Union Ave., Knoxville, TN 37902, and checks should be specified to "UT FCA."