Originally Published: Nov 28, 2009 11:49 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Reporter
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Very few people have seen as much football as Ron Lancaster. The life-long head coach captained the Broken Arrow Tigers to the 6A state semifinals in 2009, his last year as their head coach. Lancaster will retire after 47 years on the sidelines.
The Tigers fell to the Union Redskins Saturday night, 24-13. As Lancaster walked off the field for the last time, he fought back tears as he hugged players and fans.
The 69-year old leaves behind quite a legacy.
“I didn’t want it to end this way, certainly didn’t want it to,” said Lancaster after the Tigers’ semifinal loss. “Even in defeat, as long as our kids give their all, I’m all for them.”
Lancaster leaves the game as one of the winningest coaches in California and Oklahoma history. Over the past three seasons, his 25-12 record at Broken Arrow doesn’t tell his whole story. Lancaster has over 300 wins in a career that spans four decades. His coaching resume includes six state titles and 21 district championships.
Before coming to Oklahoma, Lancaster was inducted into the California Football Hall of Fame after years of success at Rancho Cordova High School near Sacramento.
From there, Lancaster has made stops all over the Sooner State. His tenure at Sallisaw included two trips to the state finals. He made it to the state semifinals in his final year at Muskogee. In 1983 he led Enid to a state championship. Ten years later, he won another gold ball, this time as the head coach of the Jenks Trojans. During five seasons with Jenks, Lancaster won 54 games.
During his career, Lancaster earned District Coach of Year honors 17 times.
“They’re all such special memories,” said Lancaster. “I’ve been so fortunate over the years.”
It’s fitting, perhaps, that Lancaster ends his coaching career where his love for the game began. He played for the University of Tulsa. With his coaching days behind him, Lancaster says his most recent team has a bright future.
“I guarantee you in the next two or three years, Broken Arrow’s going to win the thing,” the coach smiled.
If Broken Arrow does win the title he predicted, that championship group of Tigers will have Lancaster’s teachings to thank.