Gerald “Jerry” Tuckwin
Prairie Band Potawatomi
For over 30 years, Jerry Tuckwin coached and taught Native Americans at Haskell Institute, Haskell Indian Junior College and Haskell Indian Nations University. Tuckwin also attended Haskell and graduated from Haskell Institute in 1960 with his high school diploma where he was very active in sports. He was fortunate enough to receive a track and field scholarship from the University of Wichita (later Wichita State University) where he earned his baccalaureate degree in 1964.
He returned to Haskell in 1965 to coach junior college basketball and assist in track and field. The following summer he was drafted but elected to serve four years in the United States Air Force. He is a Viet Nam veteran. In addition to this military obligation, Tuckwin completed his Master’s degree at the University of Arizona. During this time, Jerry married college sweetheart, Terry Maupin.
Upon his discharge from the Air Force, he returned to Haskell to resume his coaching responsibilities which lasted until 2001. It was during this tenure that he coached Native students who earned All-American honors 30 different times. He learned very quickly that the runners had the talents to succeed. All he needed to do was give them the workouts, nurture their self-confidence, but mainly help in the development of their self-esteem. “He believes his success can be attributed to his ability to bring out their self-worth; they had the talent”.
Upon his retirement in 2001 from his educational duties and coaching responsibilities, Tuckwin pursued employment with his tribe, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation where he served as the Chairman of the Potawatomi Entertainment Corporation Board in the casino industry. During this semi-retirement era, Coach Tuckwin also garnered awards from Nike Corporation for his success with Native runners, the Seminole Nation of Florida, the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, Outstanding Alumnus from Haskell Indian Nations University, and the first Inductee to the Kansas City Chiefs as a result of his work and contributions to Indigenous youth.
Tuckwin has two children (John and Shannon, whom is deceased), five grandchildren and one great grandson. All are alumni of Haskell with the exception of his great grandson.
Tuckwin continues to be active with the Haskell Foundation, his work with the Haskell Tekakwitha Catholic Center and the Haskell Alumni Association.