by Bill Neal
For New Pittsburgh Courier
“Coach Lucas,” “Coach,” “Luc,” Fred or Mr. Lucas. By any of the aforementioned identifications, you knew who it was. And by you, I mean the entire city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and for that matter, Western Pennsylvania.
However, for the two of you that didn’t know who Coach Lucas was, allow me to introduce you to one of the greatest men to ever walk this earth. And trust me, there is no exaggeration offered here.
You know that old saying—“No one would ever have a bad thing to say about so and so…”
That’s Coach Lucas! The pride of Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church.
Coach Lucas was a man for all seasons and reasons at Rodman who loved his church and his church loved him.
Neither time nor space will allow me to cover all the accolades, but as Coach would say, “Let’s Get To It.”
In keeping with the spirit of my column, if you’re a regular reader, I usually give you the Top 10 of something. So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Greatest Recognitions of Coach Fred Lucas, who, as many of you know, died on April 11 from cancer. He was 76.
No. 1: As noted, he was a highly spiritual man whose faith was anchored in God. Thus, you understand why you never heard a swear word or insult of anyone come from him.
No. 2: A Hall of Fame member at Slippery Rock University as a nationally recognized
nationally recognized cross-country and distance runner.
No. 3: A City League track-and-field coach at Schenley High school.
No. 4: Thus, an inducted member into the Pittsburgh City League High School All-Sports Hall of Fame! Coach was one of the five original members and founders of the City League Hall of Fame and was the historian and heart and soul of the committee for six years.
No. 5: Thirty-five-plus years as an educator and coach in the Pittsburgh School System. Most of which were spent at his beloved Schenley High School. Luc loved his Spartans. And yep, you guessed it. His Spartans loved him. Just try going anywhere in this city with him. You better not be in a hurry. The shoutouts will come often and quick, and there will be hugs.
BELOVED SCHENLEY HIGH SCHOOL TRACK COACH FRED LUCAS passed away from cancer on April 11. He was 76. He’s pictured right with Fox Chapel Area High School track coach Tom Moul; the photo posted to Moul’s Twitter page.
No. 6: He, in fact, was the definition of mentor! I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing his past students of 5, 10, 20, even 30 years ago praise him and thank him for his leadership and guidance.
No. 7: Don’t worry ladies, here it comes; I didn’t forget. And yes, Fred could dance; yes, the man could dance. And all night long. And he had the trophies to prove it. (I hope ya’ll noted the ID here was Fred. That’s how his many dance partners and ballroom fans addressed him. Big Smile!)
No. 8: His selflessness and commitment to countless boards, committees, programs and events makes him one of this city’s true architects. I hope and trust all relevant leaders and sources will remember that and pay tribute to him. Most certainly, Achieving Greatness Inc., and the Pittsburgh City League Hall of Fame will.
No. 9: Music? Man, did Fred Lucas have some good ole music or what!?
No. 10: And last, but not least, please allow me to leave you with this smile on your face. And many of you, not all, but many, will understand this. When Coach gets to Heaven, he will immediately move to the fast lane. And, I do mean fast, cause Coach has no problem putting his foot on the gas. Be it his Corvette, Trans-Am or that Black Missile that he called a Jeep…MMMAAANNN Coach Loved His Speed…and Speed Loved Him! I am just saying!
Rest In Peace, Coach.
FEATURED PHOTO: BELOVED SCHENLEY HIGH SCHOOL TRACK COACH FRED LUCAS passed away from cancer on April 11. He was 76. He’s pictured above during a speech he made after being inducted into Slippery Rock University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013, where he was a star cross country athlete. (Photo courtesy Slippery Rock University)