Oliver Lucas, who rebuilt and revitalized Bryan Station football over the past four years, has resigned as coach of the Defenders.
"At this point in my life I feel like there are other avenues to be explored," Lucas said. "It's nothing personal or negative. It's been great coaching Bryan Station."
Lucas added he still has a "burning desire" to coach and would be open to talking to other schools.
"It's just time for me to step back and take a deep breath," he said. "If it's a short breath, it's a short breath."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
But he said he has other options. "I'm not locked into one thing," he added, noting that he teaches biology and has a Ph.D in administration education and a superintendent's certificate.
When Lucas moved from Colorado to Lexington before the 2006 season, he took over a Bryan Station program mired in mediocrity, or worse. The Defenders had gone 7-42 over the previous five years.
Bryan Station steadily improved under Lucas. After going 2-8 in his first year and 4-7 in 2007, the Defenders got back on the winning track.
They started the 2008 season by beating Paul Laurence Dunbar to end a six-year, 21-game losing streak to city competition, and they ended the season by almost upsetting eventual state champ Highlands in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Bryan Station's turnaround continued this year. It won its first five games, won the district, a playoff game and finished 9-3.
Lucas said he is leaving the Defenders in great shape for his successor.
"The cupboard is full," he said. "The next guy walking in here has a gold mine. The program is up and running, the kids are here, everything is in place."
Lucas would like to see one of his assistants, including Russell Rigdon and Chris Ballard, get the job as head coach. "They've been here and helped build this thing."