Western Connecticut State University in Danbury has chosen veteran high school coach Ed Lucas to start a men's and women's cross country program at the school.
"We are very excited to have Ed as our inaugural men's and women's cross country coach," stated Lori Mazza, WestConn Director of Athletics and Recreation . "Between his accomplishments as a coach and the connections at the high school level, it is the perfect combination to lead these new programs in success."
Lucas comes to WestConn with an extensive background as the boy's and girl's cross country and track coach at Oxford, Masuk and Shelton High Schools.
The Newtown, CT native started the boy's and girl's cross country program from the beginning of Oxford High School's existence in 2007. In 2010 and 2011, he was named Connecticut Post Girl's Cross Country Coach of the Year. In 2011, he was also named top girls' cross country coach by the New Haven Register. That same season, he led Oxford's girls' team to a first-place finish in the Connecticut Class SS State Meet. In 2015, Lucas coached the Naugatuck Valley League Girl's Champion.
At Masuk High School in Monroe, CT, since 2015, his boy's track team compiled a 45-3-1 overall record and were crowned Southwest Conference Patriot Division champions each of the last four seasons. They were 2016 Southwest Conference Champions and captured the 2017 Connecticut Class MM championship.
His first head coaching stint came at Shelton High School as the boys' cross country coach. The Gaels went 28-3 from 1998 to 2000 and were ranked as high as 11th in the 1999 State Coaches' Poll.
"I've always wanted to coach at the college level" said Lucas. "WestConn offers me the opportunity to do that in the local area." "When I left college, I had the opportunity to get into college coaching, but I turned it down and I've regretted it. I look forward to the new challenge and building up Western's program to become more competitive in the next few years."
While Western's numbers are small right now, Lucas looks forward to recruiting and building the team up to 10-12 runners on each team. "Once word gets out, it will grow" he stated. "This area is a hotbed of distance running and there are many runners who might look forward to continue their running career in college and remain in the area."
According to Lucas, the university is hoping to hold a home meet this year and possibly a high school invitational in the future. Lucas added "Western is expanding its West Side campus. They are looking to build research facilities in the next few years and even a track and field facility. When they add track, the cross country program will really grow."
Western competes in the Division III Little East Conference with schools such as Eastern Conn, Southern Maine, Keene State, UMass Dartmouth, Plymouth State, UMass Boston and Rhode Island College.
For more information about Western's cross country program, contact Coach Lucas at firstname.lastname@example.org