JCU Townsville Fire coach Chris Lucas has confirmed that he will not be returning for the 2016/17 Wattle Valley WNBL season.
Earlier this week, the dual championship winning coach informed the Board of his agonising decision, opting to remain in Adelaide after spending the past eight seasons away from home including five in North Queensland.
During his time in charge of the Fire, Lucas led the club to five consecutive play-off appearances including four Grand Finals and back-to-back championships.
He finishes his time at the helm with an incredible 83-44 record to boast an overall winning percentage of 65.34%.
“I have absolutely loved my time in Townsville with the club,” Lucas said.
“My vision was for us to win a championship within three years…it took us four years, but to make the play-offs in the first season, the Grand Final in the ensuing four years and two championship titles in the past two years is exceptional.
“I am extremely proud of what has been achieved by the Fire during my time with the club.”
JCU Townsville Fire Chair Michelle Morton said the club was extremely grateful for the role Lucas has played in their championship success.
“Chris has done an outstanding job since his arrival in Townsville,” Morton said.
“His dedication to his craft – and his desire to win – ensured that he demanded the absolute best from his players and the on-court results speak for themselves.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, and while we would have loved for him to return, Chris has made the best decision for himself and his family and we wish him well.”
The Fire has commenced signing their championship winning heroes for the 2016/17 season with vice-captain Mia Murray triggering a contract extension to remain with the Fire alongside skipper Suzy Batkovic.
Assistant coach Claudia Brassard will assume list management responsibilities in lieu of Lucas’ decision, with the Fire expected to announce a successor in the near future.
Chris Lucas’ coaching record
2011/12 – 14-10 (Semi-Final)
2012/13 – 15-12 (Grand Final)
2013/14 – 18-9 (Grand Final)
2014/15 – 19-5 (Champions)
2015/16 – 20-8 (Champions)