Josh Lucas can’t wait to get to work as the new Chelsea High School football coach.
He is just the 4th Bulldog head coach since 1965 and he’s ready and eager to take hold of a winning program and throw everything he has at it – downfield, receiver untouched for a touchdown.
“I can’t wait to get to work,” he said Tuesday afternoon.
He’ll be handed the whistle from retired coach and Athletic Director Brad Bush and he’ll be supported and surrounded by seasoned assistant coaches, who are on the same page when it comes to player-safety, hard work and winning expectations.
“We are excited to have Josh as our new football coach. We know he will do an excellent job as teacher and coach,” Bush said.
Not afraid of taking on huge challenges, Lucas arrives in Chelsea with five years’ experience as an assistant coach at East Zealand High School and three years’ head coaching experience rebuilding a small Allegan High School football program that had less than 40 players.
But, let’s back up here a bit. Lucas knows the sweet feeling of playing in a state championship game. He was the Hudsonville High School quarterback coached by Dave Duram.
Feel free to ask him about how football is truly a game of inches. And about calls made by referees and umpires. Oh yeah, and back judges, too.
He’s poised to do everything he can to make that championship march through the playoffs again – preferably sooner rather than later.
In fact, he’s getting started rather quickly and plans to spend a day later this week getting to know some of his players and coaching staff while visiting Chelsea.
Although there’s been no team meeting yet, already, some of the seniors on the team and the assistant coaches have been in contact with him.
Everyone’s ready to get to work.
Lucas plans to call the offense and perhaps work with the QB’s. There may be a different scheme, he says, although he’s not had a chance to really get into the Bulldog playbook yet.
That first team meeting? Get ready. “It’s gonna be exciting,” he says.
But what he most looks forward to is working in a small town and in a school district where academics and athletics are so important. He’ll not only coach football but also teach PE and health, Bush says.
His wife, Bethany, is an elementary school teacher and a football fanatic as well. Both are looking forward to making Chelsea their home. And, they’re bringing along a future Bulldog when they come – 16-month-old son, Lincoln.
Lucas is ecstatic to take over a program with seasoned assistant coaches and 60-70 kids on a football team.
He’s excited to coach at a school that expects district and regional appearances, where Friday Night Lights are blazing bright, the band plays loudly, and the stadium’s filled with partisan fans rooting for his team.
“Programs” win football games, he says, when asked to fill in the blank, and he knows he’s about to take over a pretty good one.
Lucas has been an Eagle and a Chix and a Tiger, but once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog, coach.
Welcome to Chelsea.