Long before his TV sports broadcasting days, he developed his reporting chops as a free-lance writer the old-fashioned way:
A student by day working his way into the University of Missouri School of Journalism. A beat writer at night covering the 1983-1984 Mizzou basketball team, even lugging around a portable typewriter and dictating two stories per game over the phone to a deadline-worn editor.
“I covered the whole basketball season for the Springfield News and the Springfield News & Press,” Dan Lucy recalled. “And when it was all said and done, I had enough money to put four new tires on my ’72 Chevy Nova.”
Eventually, he became one of the most recognized TV sports personalities in the Ozarks both for his thorough coverage and trademark boyish smile, and it’s why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct Lucy with the Class of 2018.
He will be honored during the 2018 Enshrinement presented by Killian Construction, set for Sunday, January 28 at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield. (For tickets & sponsorships, call 417-889-3100 & see information below.)
His 34th year in sports broadcasting, all in Missouri, arrives in 2018. He spent his first four years at KOMU TV in Columbia and, since 1988, has worked at KOLR TV in Springfield, including the past 25 years as its Sports Director.
He has been a part of the Missouri State University TV broadcast crew, hosted the MSU football and basketball coaches shows for years and is a correspondent for the Missouri Valley Conference.
Along the way, he has covered eight World Series, a Super Bowl, a PGA Championship, two Major League Baseball All-Star Games, an NHL All-Star Game as well as NCAA basketball tournaments. That’s in addition to reporting on all the important local sports that folks in the Ozarks hold near and dear to their hearts.
He also has been honest with viewers. If the local paper beat him on a scoop, Lucy credited its reporting in his broadcast. That said, he broke the 1995 story that former Indiana Hoosiers star Steve Alford would be hired as Missouri State basketball coach.
Just as notable, he has used his celebrity well. He has emceed the Boys & Girls Club’s Steak & Steak fundraising dinner the past 20 years and, after overcoming prostate cancer in 2014, he was Vintage Lucy.
“I remember being in the hospital and asking my wife, ‘Why did I get cancer?’” Lucy said, and realized what needed to be done. “People knew who I was, and I knew I had a platform. I said, ‘God gave me this to be an advocate.’”
Springfield has meant a lot to him because Springfield gave Lucy something he had never had before – a place to truly call home. The son of a U.S. Army colonel, Lucy had traveled all over the country in his youth.
Fortunately, he found ways to join sports teams and laid the groundwork toward a sports broadcasting career, first working for the newspaper and yearbook staffs – and helping a local TV station — before graduating in 1981 from Omaha, Nebraska’s Millard South High School. Then, before graduating from Mizzou in 1985, he freelanced but also worked for the student-run TV station in Columbia.
“I’ve kind of liked being a storyteller,” Lucy said. “And covering sports beat covering sewers and politics.”
At KOMU, he got his break when the full-time sports director left and was asked to handle the nightly sports broadcasts Monday through Friday. Lucy pounced, even completely rescheduling his course schedule.
Then, in 1988, he applied for the sports director’s job at Springfield-based KSPR. But after that station hired a competitor, Lucy’s phone rang a half-hour later. It was KOLR 10 TV’s Scott Opfer.
Best of all, Lucy knew who he was covering. Often, they weren’t millionaire athletes but overachieving high school student-athletes, small-college dreamers and so forth. He simply wanted to fit it all into a 3 minute, 30-second broadcast, doing all by beating deadlines and the clock.
“They’re just people. They’re not heroes or stars,” Lucy said. “They’re just people trying to win, trying to compete and having fun.”
Fortunately, Lucy has had the support if his wife, Linda, as well as son, Scott, and his wife, Emily.
“I learned a long time ago that you can’t cover everything you want to cover, and for a number of reasons,” Lucy added. “I just approached it that I would do the best I can every single day. And I kept in mind who my viewers are. Mainly, don’t take any story for granted. Don’t get lazy. Go work hard.”
Missouri Sports Hall of Fame’s 2018 Enshrinement Ceremonies presented by Killian Construction
When: Sunday, January 28
Morning reception: 11 a.m., presented by Meek’s The Builder’s Choice, at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, 3861 E. Stan Musial Drive in Springfield.
Afternoon festivities: 4 p.m. reception, 5 p.m. dinner & ceremony at University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, Springfield
Class of 2018: Mike Garrett (Kansas City Chiefs), Lee Smith (St. Louis Cardinals), Howard Richards (University of Missouri football), Jim Otis (St. Louis Football Cardinals & Kansas City Chiefs), Martin MacDonald (Conservationist, Outdoorsman, Runner), football coach Gary Barnett (Northwestern University & University of Colorado), softball coach Holly Hesse (Missouri State University), Doug Elgin (Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner), Dr. Brian Mahaffey (Missouri State University, St. Louis Cardinals), shot putter Christian Cantwell (Eldon High School/University of Missouri/Olympics), basketball standout Kerensa Barr Cassis (West Plains High School/Mizzou), Dan Lucy (KOLR 10 TV Sports Director), Rockhurst High School football coach Tony Severino, basketball coach Steve Tappmeyer (Northwest Missouri State University, UMSL), Rick Grayson (PGA teaching professional), Learfield, the Lamar High School Football Program, Springfield-Greene County Park Board, Independent Printing – John Q. Hammons Founders Award, Rick Todd of Herschend Family Entertainment – President’s Award.
Sponsorship opportunities: Tables of 10 are $1,500 and include an autographed poster (a rendering by renowned artist Dayne Dudley), recognition in the printed program and at the table. Individual tickets are $150. Numerous other sponsorships are available, including congratulatory ads, trading cards and 20-month calendars.
Call the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame: 417-889-3100.