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Rick Capone, Sport Editor
Mar 16, 2017
4 min read
WCHS girls’ basketball coach Jay Lucas retires
Thirty-four years. That’s how long Jay Lucas has patrolled the sidelines of basketball courts as a coach with Woodford County High School and Woodford County Middle School.
His booming voice could always be heard in any gym, as he shouted plays to his team like – “CAROLINA,” “TWO GUARD,” OR “UCONN.”
On Monday, March 13, it all came to an end when he announced his retirement as head coach of the high school girls’ basketball team. He also stepped down as athletic director and his teaching duties at the high school, but will remain in those positions until June 1.
A search for a new head coach will soon begin.
During his career, Lucas coached the middle school girls’ basketball team for 31 years, and the high school girls’ basketball team as head coach, for 21 years (1996-2017). He was also the assistant basketball coach for the high school team for eight years (1988-1996) and the head coach of the WCHS baseball team for 20 years.
In 2011, he retired from coaching the WCHS baseball team with over 400 wins. He had been named to the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
In 2014, he accepted the job as athletic director at the high school and retired from coaching the middle school girls’ basketball team.
Then on Monday, he called it a career, as he stepped down as head coach of the high school team.
He announced his retirement in an email late Monday. In it Lucas said, “I met with the players this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. and informed them of my retirement. … I am also retiring from the classroom and the athletic director position. I have spent 34 years coaching girls’ basketball at WCHS and am proud of all of our accomplishments over the last 34 years.”
It has been a long and successful road for Lucas, but for every coach, they get a feeling and know when it is time to step down, which is what happened for him.
“I think it was just time for me to step back and start a new chapter in my life,” he said. “I’ve had a great career. A lot of things that have happened positively over the years, and it was just time for me. You know, I finished the season and thought about it. I was thinking about it going into this (past) year, and then towards the end of the year I was excited about returning. Then after some reflection, I just thought it was time to step down.”
In his high school head coaching career, Lucas finished with a 376-264 record. This past season, he was honored as one of the Top-30 coaches in the state.
His teams have won nine district championships and one region championship. In addition, his teams have been district runner-up seven times and region runner-ups six times.
He has also received a number of personal awards. In 2005, he was named KABC Coach of the Year and he was also named 11th Region Coach of the Year six times. Then in 2008, he was inducted into the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches Court of Honor/Hall of Fame for the 11th Region.
In looking back over his long career, Lucas noted that he has five favorite moments that stood out and he enjoyed. In no particular order:
• His daughter, Alyssa, hitting a game-winning shot her senior year in the district tournament in 2011.
• 58 straight district wins between 2000 and 2007. “I don’t think that will ever be repeated,” he said. To go with that, seven straight district titles.
• The 2004-2005 year when his team went 29-2. “That was probably one of my favorite teams even though they didn’t go to state,” he said. “They won 29 straight games and finished No. 4 in the state.”
• Going to the state tournament in 2002.
• Going into the Hall of Fame (the KABC Court of Honor) in 2008.
As for the future, Lucas said, “I am going to take some time off. Relax a little bit. I’m going to do some things around the house that need to be done. Play a little golf and just take some time off, that’s what I need to do. It’s been a great 34 years and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It’s emotional, but it’s also a new chapter that I’m looking forward to.”
Lucas also knows he would not have had all of the success he has achieved without help from many people, and he made sure to thank some of them.
“Thanks to Coach Bill Hill who hired me in 1983 to coach his middle school team and then brought me to the high school staff in 1988,” said Lucas. “Thanks to all of my assistant coaches over the last 21 years at WCHS and the 31 years at WCMS. A special thanks to my staff the last two years, Beth Lucas, Alyssa Lucas, Jeff Moffett and Pam Duncan. Thanks to all the players over the years who I have had a privilege to coach. I hope I have had an impact on them because they all have impacted my life in a positive way. I am going to miss coaching this team. I am always going to support the new coach and the Lady Yellow Jacket basketball team. Best of luck to the players in the 2017-2018 season.”