SOMERSET, Ky. (LEX 18) — The high school football community across Kentucky is mourning the loss of a longtime coach in Pulaski County. Charles "Robbie" Lucas had a lot of success, but it's his impact off the field that his former players will remember most. He died over the weekend after battling an illness.
Sports can bring you the full spectrum of human emotion — the high of a state high school football championship is massive, maybe eclipsed only by the low of a loss like this.
"As far as the community goes, we'll never stop mourning," said James Sullivan, a former player. "You can't replace Coach Lucas."
Sullivan graduated 15 years ago, but his coach left a big impression.
"Coach Lucas, he gave me 200 yards of bear crawl, walking behind me, kicking me in the butt, and when I got done, he hugged me and told me he loved me. That was just his way of kicking me in the butt, getting my head back straight," Sullivan said.
Lucas was head coach for more than ten years, but was involved with the team for even longer. Monday night, on the field where he shaped young lives, so many of them came back to remember and honor him.
"It's hard for everybody. The best thing we can do is honor him, get back out on the field, play ball, and still show up to these games and honor coach as best as we can," Sullivan said.
In a small town like Somerset, a legacy like Coach Lucas' casts a long shadow.
"Everything we do on this football field, there's a brotherhood. The only way we can carry it forward is to remember, never forget Coach Lucas. I don't think anyone in this community ever will. I don't think it's possible," Sullivan said.
It's a legacy they'll keep alive as long as they can.