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Butler coach Lucas has 3 daughters playing at 3 different schools

Volleyball, everyone?
Sophia #25, Sophomore, Clarion University, Health Sciences. Submitted Photo. 9/29/2022

BUTLER TWP — When it comes to volleyball, the Lucas family can’t seem to get enough.

That’s a good thing, because they’re getting plenty.

Meghan Lucas is head coach of the Butler High School girls volleyball team. Her and husband Craig Lucas have three daughters playing the sport in college right now: Maria (senior) at Slippery Rock, Gabby (junior) at Grove City and Sophia (sophomore) at Clarion. A fourth daughter, Sarah, is a sophomore at Butler and plays for her mother’s team.

“I’ve been blessed to coach all my girls in high school,” Meghan said.

Now it’s tricky to watch them all play in college.

“It’s definitely a juggling act,” Meghan said of getting around to the college matches. “Then again, with five kids, it’s always been a juggling act.”

Gabrielle Lucas

Isaiah Lucas, the couple’s only son, played baseball at Allegheny College. Now he’s part of the contingent that makes sure the family is represented every time one of the Lucas girls plays a college volleyball match.

Craig believes the family presence at matches is important. He played football at Clarion, where he met Meghan, who played volleyball for the Golden Eagles.

“We’ve been there. We get it,” Craig said. “I remember when I was playing football, how good it felt to be able to look up into the stands and see my parents there. They gave up their time to come watch me play. That always got me fired up and inspired. I always appreciated that support.

Maria Lucas

“I want my daughters to feel that same way. We always make sure there is a family presence at their games.”

The grandparents, John and Kathy Kelly (Meghan’s parents), Richard and Louann Lucas (Craig’s parents) figure into that mix. They are constantly attending volleyball matches.

“We’ve gone to Toledo and into West Virginia to see our grand-daughters play,” Richard Lucas said. “We watched them all play through high school and now college. To have them all possess the talent to compete at that level and do well ... It’s been so much fun watching that process.

“My wife and I never get tired of going. We cherish these times.”

A chiropractor by trade, Craig Lucas has offices in Butler and Clarion. He is at the latter office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, making it easy to get to Sophia’s home matches after he gets off work.

“It’s from the office right to the gym,” he said. “Sometimes I get there late, but I get there.”

With three daughters playing volleyball in college, Meghan never thought about stepping down as Butler coach to dedicate more time to watching her daughters play in college.

“Never even tempted,” she said. “We make it all work. The good part is that all three of these schools are nearby. I’m always at Sarah’s games because I’m coaching her, of course, so that part is covered.

“I love when I am able to go watch our daughters play. I can be mom, sitting in the stands with Craig, cheering and supporting them, rather than be their coach. I waited a long time to be able to do that.”

She described Sunday as the family’s “day of rest. I stay home and cook. We wind down, then get ready to start up again Monday.”

When there is a conflict as to which match to attend — usually on weekends — Richard said he and his wife opt to attend Maria’s match with Slippery Rock.

“She’s the senior and she won’t be playing anymore after this year,” he said. “It will be a sad day when they’re all done playing. We think about that every time we attend an event.”

When Sarah is in her senior season at Butler, it will mark nine straight years a Lucas girl played volleyball for the Golden Tornado. She plans to pursue other interests after high school and not play volleyball in college.

“Nothing lasts forever,” Craig said. “We’re coming up toward the end of it. It’s a privilege, being able to watch my girls being so happy on the court, dedicated to the sport they love. As parents, we’re so fortunate for this experience.

“I wish a lot of other parents would appreciate the fact their kids are competing in college. Take in those moments rather than yell at an official or get upset with a coach.

“Going to these games never gets old for me. In fact, I’m beginning to face the finality of it and I cherish it even more,” he added.

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