Whit Tucker was a well-rounded athlete who most notably spent nine years with the Canadian Football League’s Ottawa Rough Riders. He won two Grey Cups and continues to hold the all-time CFL record for Highest Average Gain per Pass Reception.
Whit Tucker was born in Windsor on November 15, 1940.
An outstanding all-around athlete at Forster Collegiate, Tucker enjoyed arguably the greatest WSSA track and field career of his generation while also excelling at football, basketball, and baseball. He won the Royal Arcanum Trophy, given annually to the WSSA’s Most Outstanding Athlete, for the 1958-59 season. He won First-Team All-City honours for WSSA football in 1957 and ’58 and made First-Team WSSA Basketball for the 1958-59 season.
On the baseball diamond, he threw two no-hitters in the Mic Mac Class “E” League.
Tucker won a total of 32 WSSA and WOSSA medals during a spectacular secondary school track and field career. He finished high school as a four-time WSSA and three-time WOSSA Individual Champion. Along the way, he set four WOSSA records three WSSA records.
In 1958, Tucker submitted what is probably the single greatest individual performance in WOSSA track and field history. He won and set all-time records in every event he entered: the 220-yard dash, the 120-yard low hurdles, the broad jump, and the hop, step, and jump.
At the 1959 Kennedy Relays, he pocketed gold medals in the 100-yard dash (with a time of 10.2 seconds), the 120-yard low hurdles, and the 440- and 880-yard relays.
That year, Tucker reached the Canadian Championships, where he was named the Junior Individual Champion. He won gold medals in the mile relay, broad jump, and the hop, step, and jump event. He also added a silver medal in the 100-yard dash and a bronze in the 440-yard relay. He finished fifth in the country in the 220-yard dash.
Tucker attended the University of Western Ontario, where he continued to play football, basketball, and track and field. Tucker’s Western basketball teams won two OUAA championships, in 1960-61 and ’61-62. In football, he suited up for the Intermediate Colts in 1959 and the Varsity Mustangs in 1960 and 1961. In his final year, he made the league All-Star team and was named MVP of the Mustangs. His accomplishments won him the Dr. Claude Brown Trophy for Western’s top male athlete.
Tucker won five “Purple Blanket” awards for his outstanding contributions to interuniversity sports at Western – two each for football and basketball and one for track and field. He was inducted into the university’s “W” Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1983.
After University, Tucker played for the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders from 1962 to 1970. After losing the 1966 Grey Cup game to Saskatchewan, his team won Grey Cups in 1968 and 1969, defeating Calgary and Saskatchewan in consecutive years.
Tucker was named “Big Four” Rookie of the Year in his first season and was an Eastern Conference All-Star selection for three consecutive years from 1966 to ’68 at the flanker position. He made the CFL All-Canadian Team in 1967 and was runner-up for the Schenley Award for the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 1968. In 1967, perhaps his strongest season, Tucker caught 272 passes for 6,092 total yards.
Tucker was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1993.