High School Football

‘Program-builder’ Oliver Lucas ready to reinvigorate Clark County

Oliver Lucas (center) has been named the new football coach at Clark County. Lucas previously was at Manual follwing a stint at Bryan Station.
Oliver Lucas (center) has been named the new football coach at Clark County. Lucas previously was at Manual follwing a stint at Bryan Station. Courier-Journal

When Oliver Lucas came to Lexington in 2006, it was with the promise to rebuild Bryan Station into a winning football program after five straight losing seasons. Eleven year later, Lucas returns to Central Kentucky with the same can-do attitude after being named the new head coach at Clark County.

He succeeds Mike Riddle, who was 6-27 in three seasons with the Cardinals. He will be Clark County’s third head coach since the school dismissed Paul Columbia, a former player and longtime assistant who became the program’s head coach in 1999, in 2011. The Cardinals, who won a state title in 1991, haven’t had a winning season or won a playoff game since an 8-4 campaign in 2009.

Lucas, who went 45-25 at Manual from 2010-2015, is ready to reinvigorate a program he last week described to the Winchester Sun as a “sleeping giant.”

“The good Lord gave me a gift,” Lucas told the Herald-Leader. “That’s what I am, a program-builder. Those kind of jobs are always attractive to me. That’s what I enjoy, going into places like that and busting my butt, working myself into a frenzy to turn a program around.”

Manual was 4-3 against Louisville power Male under Lucas but went 0-15 against Trinity and St. Xavier. The former University of Colorado assistant (the Buffaloes were co-national champions while he was there in 1990) fortified a respect for two of Kentucky’s premier programs during his six seasons in Louisville.

“That’s an experience within itself,” Lucas said. “I’m one of those coaches that don’t have a dislike for Trinity or St. X. ... They just operate within the rules and their guidelines. I think they’re both first-class operations. I enjoyed bumping heads with ’em.”

Lucas’ wife, Dyonne, is a Mount Sterling native and University of Kentucky graduate, so returning to the area made sense in more ways than one. His track record of high-school success — he led Boulder (Colo.) to a state title before coming to Bryan Station — combined with his educational acumen (he holds a PhD in leadership and management) makes buying Clark County stock an attractive option.

“I’m excited. There’s talent there at GRC,” Lucas said. “They’re walking the halls, they’re there. It’s my job to get everybody out and get everybody excited about the program once again.”

▪  Central Coach Ty Scroggins, who won five state titles, resigned last week but will continue teaching at the school. Scroggins told the Courier-Journal that he came to the decision after wanting to watch his twins, son Jayden and daughter Jordan, play sports in high school beginning next season.

“I want to spend more time with them and do the things a dad should do with kids going into high school,” Scroggins told the paper. “I can’t teach a full load and be a full-time head coach, and teaching is what pays the bills. Something had to go, and I guess it was time for football.”

Scroggins was the first black coach to win a state football title. He went 101-43 in 10 seasons with the Yellowjackets and did not rule out a return to coaching.

“I’m not retiring, just resigning,” Scroggins told the paper. “In five years after my kids graduate from high school, would I consider coming back to Central? Heck, yeah. I would love that.”

▪  Ryle star Tanner Morgan, who this season became the 10th quarterback to pass for 10,000 yards or more in state history, will follow PJ Fleck to the University of Minnesota. Morgan was originally committed to Western Michigan, where Fleck had coached for four seasons before taking the Gophers job last Friday.

▪  Louisville Christian standout Jacob Paulson will be joining Morgan at Minnesota. Paulson, a tight end who helped lead the Centurions to their first state championship in December, decommitted from Western Kentucky University during the season.

▪  North Oldham kicker Jakson Wine won the Ray Guy Prokicker.com National Championship as a kickoff specialist following a yearlong competition that took place at special teams events across the country. Wine, who ranked first in the nation with an average kickoff distance of 70 yards, has accepted a preferred walk-on spot at the University of Louisville.

▪  247Sports named Scott County sophomore Bryan Hudson to the second team offense for its U.S. Army National Combine team. Hudson, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound offensive tackle, has offers from UK and Louisville.

▪  West Jessamine head coach Yancey Marcum was let go after four seasons with the school. He was 9-33 with the Colts.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader