The one thing Bob Lucey always valued about being the longtime Curtis High School football coach was the all-in nature of the players – and fan base.
“People really valued community,” Lucey said, “and the school was the center of the community.”
This week, that community gave back in a big way by naming the Curtis High School football field after him.
On Wednesday, the five-member University Place School District membership board voted unanimously to name the facility “Bob Lucey Field at Viking Stadium.”
Lucey was present at the school board meeting, and was deeply touched by the honor.
“It is kind of humbling,” Lucey said.
A dedication of the field will happen at a 2019 home game in either September or October, said Curtis principal Tom Adams.
After Lucey graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 1971, he became a volunteer assistant football coach at Curtis under Curt Bagby, whom he considered a “tremendous role model” for an aspiring coach.
Larry Nicholson took over for Bagby in 1974, and coached two seasons – with Lucey in charge of the Vikings’ defense.
In 1976, Lucey was hired as Nicholson’s replacement – and kept the job for the next 31 seasons, taking the Vikings to the state playoffs 11 times.
Curtis won Class 4A state titles in 1989 (beat Kentwood in the finals), 1990 (beat Newport of Bellevue), 1995 (beat Kamiakin) and 1996 (beat Richland).
None of Lucey’s state championship-winning squads were undefeated.
“But they all had speed,” Lucey said.
Lucey retired after the 2006 season with a 198-117 record. His longtime assistant Clay Angle replaced him.
But Lucey, 71, has continued to be involved within the school district, mentoring youth and leading school-district initiatives. In 2017, the high school started a scholarship fund after him.
And this spring, Curtis alumnus Gary Gilchrist formally proposed to University Place School District superintendent Jeff Chamberlin that the high school field be named after Lucey.
Last Wednesday, that became official.
“The community support was overwhelmingly in favor of this,” Adams said.
The Lucey headlines this week’s edition of News & Notes from high school sports around the state of Washington. Here are some others, both local and national:
- After a three-year battle with leukemia, beloved Gonzaga Prep cross country coach and former Mead standout runner Joe Feryn died July 5 and, as Jared Brown of The Spokesman-Review reports, coached until the end.
- Will the WIAA consider Central Washington’s Tomlinson Stadium as a potential host site for the Gridiron Classic? The university hopes Friday’s 3A/4A East-West All-Star football game will be a showcase for the stadium and the region, reports Rodney Harwood of The Daily Record in Ellensburg.
- Hockinson cornerback Aidan Mallory has found success on the field despite hearing issues, pens Meg Wochnick of The Columbian.
- R-Jay Barsh, a former Puyallup High School basketball standout, was hired as an assistant coach for the Boise State men’s basketball team, the school announced Tuesday. Barsh spent the last seven years as the head coach at Southeastern University in Florida. He was the head coach for one season at Lincoln of Tacoma in the mid-2000s and led the school to the state semifinals.
- Former Kentridge High School and Gonzaga University standout Gary Bell Jr. was hired as a graduate assistant on head coach Mark Few’s staff at Gonzaga, The Spokesman-Review‘s Jim Meehan reported on Monday. Bell Jr. was named Washington’s Mr. Basketball in 2011 and was a highly-touted recruit before becoming a four-year starter at Gonzaga. He played the last four years professionally overseas. Here is a feature on him when he was in high school by Sandy Ringer of The Seattle Times.
- A high school football player lives two miles away from his mother, but the two live on opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Tonya Malinowski of ESPN and E:60 tells the story of 17-year-old Leo Ramos.
- Why do experts believe young basketball players are physically breaking down at a troubling rate? That question is explored in part one of a two-part series on the “threat of youth basketball” by ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.