"The transformation continues." With those three words from Alabama State University Athletic Director Stacy Danley, a new era in Lady Hornet volleyball began Monday with the introduction of Penny Lucas-White as the new head coach.
"It is with great honor and pleasure that I am here and I can guarantee a couple of things," Lucas-White said. "The road to success is always under construction, and the one thing you see when you walk outside is a lot of buildings going up (on campus). There is a transformation going on, and that was the thing that got me fired up about coming back to Division I."
Lucas-White is a former United States National Player (1985-86) and a head coach with 19 years of experience, all, she hopes, to help the Alabama State volleyball program rise to a new level.
"I think one of the highest honors any athlete can have is to have an opportunity to represent their country and Coach Lucas-White represented our country as a member of the U.S. National volleyball team in 1985-86," Danley said. "She understands what it takes to be the best. I was very impressed by her contacts and her relationships that she has around the country at those places that it is going to be necessary for Alabama State to go and recruit some of the best volleyball players in the country. She has that."
She played collegiately at Louisiana State University (LSU) from 1980-83 where she earned First-Team All-SEC honors and team MVP honors. She moved into the professional ranks both domestically and in Germany and Italy (1984-91, 1997).
Lucas-White served the head coach at the University of Memphis from 1991-95 and at the United States Air Force Academy (1996-2009). She began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Auburn University (1987-89) while still involved in her professional career.
Lucas-White has coached student-athletes that earned MIT, Rhodes and Alberta Bart Holaday Scholarships. She led Memphis to back-to-back Great Midwest Conference titles in 1993 and 1994, earning Coach of the Year honors both seasons.
Lucas-White was brought on board at Air Force in 1996, the first season competing on the NCAA Division I level. She led a total of 18 cadet-athletes to Academic All-Mountain West honors, including one conference scholar-athlete of the year.
She has also been involved in the community wherever she has been. She has been an active member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). In 2003, she helped the AVCA receive a NCAA minority coaches grant for a program entitled "Volleyball: Live it! Love it! Coach It!"
"The road to success is under construction," Lucas-White said. "I can guarantee you we're going to graduate, we're going to be the hardest working team in the SWAC and we're going to compete, compete, compete. If and when we get beat, our opponent will walk out wet, tired and know that they've been in a dogfight. Before anything else, we're going to tell them 'you just got stung.'"
Danley said bringing Lucas-White aboard is another illustration of the direction of the athletic program.
"I hope the hiring of Coach White is another example that we're going to hire the best coaches to lead our program as we continue to move this athletic department forward," Danley said. "I'm very excited that she's here – the leadership, the influence that I believe she's going to have on not only the volleyball young ladies but all of our students and student-athletes. I think she's going to be a tremendous addition to the Alabama State athletic department and Alabama State University."
Lucas-White will make her ASU debut August 26 in Tuscaloosa against the University of Alabama.