All things considered, Lucas Lucero had a solid three-year run as head football coach at Independence High School.
Still, for Lucero it was time to step away from the program after guiding the Falcons to a seven-win season and a share of the South Yosemite League championship in 2017.
Lucero said the demands of the job, coupled with a heavy workload as full-time teacher at the school contributed to his decision.
Carrying a full-time class schedule as a special education teacher, Lucero said he oversaw about 25 students.
He added he was the only coach on Independence’s football staff who taught at the high school, which made things difficult.
“I didn’t have enough (support), and for my family’s sake I had to make a tough decision,” Lucero said. “One I did not want to do.”
Attempts to reach Independence Athletic Director Derek LaRosa for comment were unsuccessful.
Lucero’s departure is not due to performance — the Falcons had a respectable showing during his three-year tenure, as he held an 18-16 overall record.
Last season he guided the program to a 7-4 mark and to a three-way tie atop the SYL standings. The Falcons also finished in a three-way tie atop the SYL in 2016.
Lucero pointed to the varsity program's cumulative 3.3 GPA last year as a top highlight. He added that his wife was team doctor, while his children were part of the program as well — 4-year-old daughter Lilly was a cheerleader, and young sons Logan and Liam were ball boys.
“I think the direction I had it going was a positive one. Even academically. Which is something I pride myself in,” Lucero said. “That was my goal. I want these kids succeeding, and I think that showed.”
Lucero said he's not done coaching. He will be an assistant at Shafter High School this season under Jerald Pierucci and would like to lead a program again at some point.
“I would love to get back into head coaching when the timing is right,” he said.