Ray Lucas, the former quarterback and longtime radio color analyst for Rutgers, has been named the head football coach at Harrison high school. He started the job last week and Jason Bernstein of NJ Advance Media spoke to Lucas about his decision to lead his scholastic alma mater.
“My wife and kids sat me down and said ‘Dad, you gotta do something or the (Harrison High School Football) program’s going to fold.’ I was like what are you talking about? And they said they’re going to close the high school program,” stated Lucas. “I said I can’t have that, there’s no way I can let that happen. There’s too much history, too much lineage.”
The Harrison football program has struggled in recent years and was in danger of being shut down after the coaching staff left earlier this summer. Lucas stepped in and as usual, is putting his heart into this opportunity. He added, “I’m back home and coaching kids that I always wanted to coach. I had three daughters, now I have 23 sons.”
With the move to coaching, Lucas has stepped down after 12 years in the broadcast booth calling Rutgers football games along with play by play announcer Chris Carlin. Program legend Eric LeGrand has been part of home broadcasts in recent seasons as well. The chemistry in the booth and the group’s passion for Rutgers resonated through the radio for every game. No word on his potential replacement, although a decision will likely be made soon with the 2021 season kicking off on September 2.
Bernstein asked Lucas about leaving the job and he didn’t mince words.
“Am I hurt and crushed when I found out that I can’t do the Rutgers games? One hundred percent yes and I’m sure I’m going to still be crying about it forever,” Lucas said. “But right now, God has put in my path 23 kids who want to play football and that’s where my heart is. My heart’s always with Rutgers, it’s tattooed all over my body so that will never change.”
Lucas played quarterback for the Scarlet Knights in 42 games from 1992-1995. He completed 56.6% of his passes and threw for 5,896 yards, 43 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He has the fourth most touchdown passes, fifth most completions and sixth most passing yards all-time in program history. Lucas also rushed for 747 yards and 15 touchdowns on 259 carries. After Rutgers, Lucas had a successful seven year pro career including with the New York Jets. He also become a favorite of NFL coaching legend Bill Parcells.
Good luck to the Rutgers great on coaching career at Harrison and looking forward to his first return trip back to Piscataway in the booth in the near future.