Dr. Oliver Lucas, head coach for DuPont Manualâ€™s football team, will be stepping down at the close of this seasonâ€™s playoffs. After six seasons coaching the Crimsons, he has recorded 44 wins and 24 losses, including two seasons of 9-3 records in 2011 and 2013.
In spite of the success during his tenure, he believes he has reached the apex at Manual. â€œI got to thinking, â€˜I canâ€™t go any higher at Manualâ€™. I have reached the ceiling, just because Manual is a unique situation with its cap space. It is what it is, and that is not meant as negative or positive. I have to constantly feel challenged. â€¦ I feel like I have done as much as I can do at Manual. I just need to operate where the ceiling is not right at my head, so I can keep pushing the envelope and take it a place where it needs to be.â€
Dr. Lucas cultivated the football program in many ways. Manual has always been seen as a great place to get a good education, but Lucas wanted to add sports to that recognition.
â€œI am a person that likes to build programs. I like to go in to places that have a need, and be a person that can motivate and draw kids out. Iâ€™ve done a lot of things that were pretty significant [at Manual]. I took the program from where it was and took it higher. I improved the facilities and even the rich tradition. And now, Manual is thought about as one of the top football programs in the state.â€
When he came in as coach, he had a goal to present the football program as one that not only had excellent students, but also a place where student-athletes felt confident in going on to play in college and potentially on a professional level.
â€œMy number one goal when I go into a place is to make sure we have more Division I athletes than anyone else in the state. I take pride in that, with my connections and everything. We wanted to make ourself visible. Manual was an afterthought when it came to athletic competition at every level.Â â€¦ [Now] Manual is a school that kids think of not only academically, but as a place that they want to go to compete athletically as well.â€
When Lucas steps away from the helm, he will reminisce on those players who came through his program who truly submitted under his coaching and philosophy. That is what he loved most coaching at Manual.
â€œIt is always for the kids,â€ he said. â€œAnywhere I go, I try to make sure my kids have an advantage to go on and be successful. All my contacts allow the kids to have an edge up as long as they do the things they need to do, which are to play hard and have good film. Those that have gone on to college and embody all that I would want to represent the school as a student-athlete truly make me proud.â€
Lucas wanted to make the statement of stepping down now so that the school has enough time to find another coach. But Lucas still has the desire to coach in the state of Kentucky. â€œI feel like this is the time where it makes me available now. I truly do want to continue to coachâ€“there are things I need to get done in the state of Kentucky. I look forward to the unique opportunity to provide what I offer, if someone is looking for that. If you want your program to improve to the next level, and for the numbers to grow, I think I am the person you want to hire.â€ VT