Written by SportsDayDFW.com
New baseball coach Tucker aims to continue Higgins’ tradition of excellence at Lake Highlands
Corey Tucker, the first new baseball coach at Lake Highlands in 44 years, knows he’s got big shoes to fill.
Tucker is succeeding Jay Higgins, who won 798 games at Lake Highlands from 1968-2011 and is a member of the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
“It’s stressful at times, that’s for sure,” Tucker said. “He built such a big tradition here at Lake Highlands, and my main goal is to keep that tradition alive and keep the program as successful as he had it.”
So far, the Wildcats are 11-7-1 and in second place in District 9-5A.
Tucker joined the Wildcats seven years ago as an assistant after coaching stints at Denton High School and Greenville Middle School.
His familiarity with the team made the transition fairly easy for the athletes, said senior first baseman Trevor Curtis.
“It’s a new transition, a new year and a new start,” Curtis said. “We’ll see what he can do after coach Higgins because it’s really hard to replace a coach [like him].”
It’s been strange for the players to not see Higgins at practice or on the sideline at games, Curtis said, but the former coach has been intentional about keeping his distance.
“I wanted to have a low profile this year because I didn’t want to look like I was leaning over and looking over the coaches’ shoulders,” Higgins said. “I stayed away and let them do their thing.”
Tucker said he still turns to Higgins for advice and welcomed the previous coach to drive the bus to a few away games and cheer from the stands whenever he’d like.
“He’s kept true to his word,” Tucker said. “He’s stayed back and hasn’t interfered.”
The Wildcats exited the playoffs in the first round last year, but Tucker believes the team can go farther this season behind the leadership of players such as juniors Michael Ketchmark, Hudson Taylor and Alex Irion.
“This year, we want to not just make it to the playoffs but take it into a couple of rounds see if we can’t make it to state,” Tucker said.
Jay Higgins is enjoying his retirement, which has included a lengthy vacation, a trout fishing trip and attendance at his 50th high school reunion, all of which would have been nearly impossible as a high school baseball coach.
“When you do something for a long period of time, anytime you do change, it takes some getting used to,” he said. “I guess it took 44 years to realize there are a lot of things that I missed out on.”
Although he misses being involved in the program at times, Higgins said he has enjoyed stepping away from the “tough grind” known as the spring baseball season.
Ann Marie Shambaugh
WILDCAT BASEBALL SCHEDULE
7 p.m. Wednesday, Jesuit at Lake Highlands
4:30 p.m. March 30, Lake Highlands at Skyline
7 p.m. April 3, Lake Highlands at Richardson
7 p.m. April 5, Lake Highlands at Samuell (at Pleasant Grove)
7 p.m. April 10, W.T. White at Lake Highlands
7 p.m. April 13, Lake Highlands at Sunset (at Reverchon Park)
1 p.m. April 14, Berkner at Lake Highlands
7 p.m. April 17, Lake Highlands at Jesuit
7 p.m. April 20, Skyline at Lake Highlands
7 p.m. April 27, Richardson at Lake Highlands