Luck to Speak at Hall of Fame Luncheon Club

  • By Bob Stewart
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  • March 08, 2013 10:02 AM
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CANTON, Ohio - Oliver Luck, Athletic Director at West Virginia University, will be the speaker at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club Monday, March 11, 2013.

The famed luncheon club, in its landmark 50th season, continues to be held at Tozzi’s on 12th, 4210 12th St. NW, Canton. Lunch is served starting at 11 a.m., with the program beginning at 12:10 p.m., concluding at 1 p.m.

Luck. A former West Virginia University Mountaineer quarterback, was appointed the University’s 11th Director of Athletics on June 9, 2010.
In his first year, Luck hired four head coaches, while maintaining WVU’s superior level of success. In addition to new hires, Luck oversaw the progress of major capital projects, such as the $25 million WVU basketball practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball and the women’s soccer training complex.

In year two, Luck led WVU into the Big 12 Conference, oversaw the best fund-raising year in school history, implemented several safety and crowd enhancements at Mountaineer sporting events, increased overall department revenue, continued a master plan for facility upgrades and watched his football program gain its third BCS bowl victory with a record-setting 70-33 win in the Orange Bowl.

Luck’s athletic and professional career has been the epitome of success, first as a record-setting quarterback for the Mountaineers from 1978-81, then as a professional quarterback for the National Football League’s Houston Oilers, and later as a professional sports executive.

Luck’s journey to the big chair at WVU began in his native Cleveland, where in 1977 he was named the Cleveland Touchdown Club Player of the Year at St. Ignatius High. Luck chose WVU over Ivy League schools Harvard and Yale, embarking upon a career that saw him establish school records for touchdown passes and completions during his playing days, while also leading the Mountaineers to a 26-6 upset victory over Florida in the 1981 Peach Bowl.

His best season came as a senior in 1981 when he completed 216 of 394 passes for 2,448 yards and 16 touchdowns. He passed for a career-high 360 yards in a 27-24 loss to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in the final regular-season game of his career.

Luck ended his college career with 5,765 yards and 43 touchdown passes, both figures still ranking among the best in school history. Luck was a two-time team MVP in 1980 and 1981. He also received the Louis D. Meisel Award for the WVU football student-athlete with the highest grade point average.

The two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American was the recipient of Today’s Top Five, presented for scholastics by the NCAA and was selected by the National Football Foundation as one of its 10 scholar-athletes to make a keynote speech at its annual banquet in 1982.

Selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the Houston Oilers (44th overall pick), Luck spent four years with the Oilers from 1982-86. His most extended action came in 1983 when he started six games and finished the season completing 124-of-217 passes for 175 yards and eight touchdowns.
After retiring from football, Luck became vice president of business development for the NFL and later was appointed general manager of the Frankfurt Galaxy of the newly created World League of American Football.
He spent the ’95 season as general manager of the Rhein Fire before being named President and CEO of NFL Europe in 1996. Luck totaled more than 10 years with the NFL, before becoming chief executive officer of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority in 2001.

In 2005, Luck was appointed as the first president of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamos, helping that organization to a pair of MLS Cup titles in his first two years at the helm.

Prior to his current position at WVU, Luck was appointed by then Gov. Joe Manchin in 2008 to a four-year term on the West Virginia University Board of Governors, a spot he relinquished to become director of athletics.
The Rhodes Scholar finalist graduated Phi Beta Kappa from WVU in 1982. He also earned a law degree from Texas, graduating cum laude in 1987. In 1997, Luck was inducted into the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2008, he was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame.

He is married to the former Kathy Wilson.

They have two sons and two daughters: Andrew, a former All-American quarterback and two-time Heisman Trophy finalist at Stanford and No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts; Mary Ellen, a junior volleyball player at Stanford; Emily, a freshman at Stanford and Addison, who attends Morgantown High.

The upcoming luncheon club programs will include Terry Bowden, head football coach at the University of Akron, March 18; Urban Meyer , head football coach at The Ohio State University, March 25, and Eric Wolford, head football coach at Youngstown State University, April 1.

The club’s annual meeting and election of officers will be held April 8, the same day The Repository East-West All-Star Football Game Coaches, Mike Schott of Alliance and Beau Balderson of Jackson,
will share the podium.

The club continues to provide all members of the U. S. Armed Forces home on leave and in uniform free weekly admissions. The club meets on Mondays from now through mid-May of 2013, when the annual golf outing and dinner conclude the season’s sessions.