10 questions with Ken Rucker
May 27, 2007
When did you know you wanted to become a football coach? I knew I wanted to become a coach around my junior year in college. I think I liked the way my high school and college coaches treated me and treated their players. I thought they really cared and I wanted to be in a situation where I could help youngsters.
What is your favorite part about being a football coach? I like the results that you see after you've put time into a player's life, on and off the field. I believe that if you can make a difference in their character and in their life skills, it shows up on the field and I like to see the results of that.
What is your favorite part about coaching at The University of Texas? From a coaching standpoint, you know that coaching here is important. You've got high school coaches in the state and administrators that care about the program. When you go around the country and compare Texas athletics with other places, it just stands out. I like the way people are around here and the way they care about you as a person.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? I have to go back to my mother and dad. They were huge in my upbringing and teaching me right from wrong. I can't go without saying that Mrs. Nancy Rucker has been a big influence in my life. We've been married 36 years, so she's been with me most of my adult life. I'd also say my high school coach Rex Dockery and my college coach Dal Shealy at Carson-Newman.
Who has been the biggest influence on your coaching career? I'd have to say coach Dal Shealy, and Ron Case, who was my position coach and defensive coordinator in college. I would say those two were very instrumental in why I'm coaching.
What has been your proudest moment in coaching? I think winning the National Championship is one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me. That is the ultimate goal that you have in collegiate athletics. I'm also really proud of the guys that I've been involved with that have graduated from college. There is a long list of guys I could go through, but I see them being good husbands and good fathers and that makes me proud.
What player(s) that you've coached do you believe got the most out of their ability? One player that sticks out that really did a tremendous job for me was a young man by the name of Anthony Roberson. He's flying F-16s now for the United States Air Force. He was a halfback in a wishbone set that played at about 155 or 160 pounds. He was the best blocker that I've ever seen at that size. He could return kickoffs. He was a small man in a big man's game, who played big. He just gave you everything that he had.
Players are often asked about their pre-game routines. Do you have anything special you regularly do just before a game? I like quiet time to myself. I've always been that way, even as a player. I like to be alone for a period of time just to gather my thoughts, pray and focus on the game. Those are things I do every week.
What do you think you would be doing if you had never gotten into coaching? I really don't know. I was working for UPS when I got a coaching job right out of college. In the winter months prior to my graduation, I worked at J.C. Penny's, but I really don't know. I'd probably be in the corporate world.
Do you have any special talents outside of football or what is your favorite thing to do away from football? I really like to play golf. I try to get better every time. I'd like to consistently shoot 75. I've been there before and had a 10 handicap before, so I'd like to get back there. I'd really like to hit the 60s before I put up the clubs. I would like to feel that.