Squalicum Athletic Director Patrick Brown first was impressed with Nick Lucey's extensive football background, which includes college coaching stints at Western New Mexico State, Simon Fraser and Washington State, where he served as a graduate assistant for four years.
When Brown met Lucey and discovered his magnetic, dynamic personality he became more convinced he was the right choice to take over Squalicum football's vacant head coaching position.
Brown announced Lucey's hire in a press release Friday morning, May 16. The new coach will replace former coach Reed Richardson.
"He has a real passion," Brown said in a phone interview, "and, of course, the football knowledge is impressive."
Lucey comes to Squalicum from a football coaching background. His father is the coach at Curtis High School in University Place, and he played college football at Western State College and at the University of Puget Sound before returning to Curtis to begin his football coaching career.
Most recently, Lucey coached at Simon Fraser.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity and thankful for it," Lucey said in a phone interview. "Bellingham is obviously an awesome community and great school district and highly thought of."
Lucey said his first move will be putting together a strong coaching staff that will look out for the best interest of the players. He also stressed the importance of implementing a weight-room program as soon as possible.
The weight-room work ties into Lucey's desire to construct a physical, disciplined team.
"Lynden, Ferndale, there's some good teams. We have to get in the weight room and be a physical ball club," Lucey said. "Basically, we want a style of play that allows us to play fast."
Lucey will be tasked will trying to elevate Squalicum football to the next level after the Storm finished 13-17 during the last three seasons.
Brown is confident Lucey has the passion and game knowledge to do that.
"Obviously we want to put our kids in the best position to compete with the best in our league," Brown said. "Coach Lucey and I are on the same page with that, and we really want to make Squalicum's program very formidable. We want to battle for league titles. It could come this year, it come years down the line. ... We feel confident Coach Lucey can make that happen."
Lucey said he plans to implement a multiple spread offensive system. He wants to identify Squalicum's top athletes and use them to the best of their ability. He plans to use tempo and rely on a balanced passing and rushing attack.
"I think high school football is all about the Jimmies and Joes, not the Xs and Os," Lucey said.
Defensively, Lucey wants a technically sound team that "can play with their ears pinned back."
Before Lucey maps out expectations, he's first looking to build a strong football atmosphere kids will be excited to be a part of.
"We want to establish a culture of excellence and pursue that in the classroom, the community and on the field," Lucey said. "At the end of next season, obviously we want to be in the playoffs, but we want to see, 'Did we get better everyday? Did we get better throughout the season? Are we in a better place and are we growing?'"
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
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