Jay Lucas celebrates 30 years of coaching girls’ basketball
Jay Lucas ’83 started out coaching girls’ basketball with the thought that he might switch over to coaching boys eventually. He’s now celebrating his 30th year of coaching the girls at Woodford County (Ky.) middle and high schools, having long since decided he was right where he wanted to be.
“I think the girls’ teams are a more fun group to be around,” he said. “They’re more team-oriented and are happy when a teammate does well. It’s truly a team sport because they can’t just throw it up to the rim and have someone dunk it—they have to work together to set each other up.”
At the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Lucas had a career won-lost record of 901-204 for his seventh and eighth grade teams and a 314-171 mark for the Lady Jackets varsity team. He’s coached the middle school teams since his first year as a mathematics teacher and coach in the 1983-84 season and has led the varsity for the past 17 years.
He took the 2001-02 varsity team to the state tournament from the 11th region and had a remarkable 29-2 record for the 2004-05 season. He’s won nine district titles, been Coach of the Year in the 11th region six times, was the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches Coach of the Year in 2004-05, and was elected to the KABC Court of Honor in 2008. His middle school teams have won 24 regular season championships and 15 tournament titles.
Lucas also coached the baseball team, retiring after the 2011 season with a 410-282 record and eight district championships. He was inducted into the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
With all those accomplishments, one of his favorite experiences was coaching his daughter Alyssa. During her senior year in 2009-10, the team was 23-8, and she set a school career record with 240 made three-point shots.
“As a dad/coach, that season was a lot of fun,” Lucas said.
Basketball and Transylvania run in the family. Lucas played and managed at Transylvania under former head coach Don Lane. His father, Jack Lucas ’63, played for former head coach C. M. Newton, and he met his wife, Rose Moloney Lucas ’61, at Transylvania, where she was a varsity cheerleader.
Lucas and his wife, Debra, have another daughter, Ashley, a first-year student at Woodford County who has veered from the family basketball tradition by choosing volleyball as her competitive sport.