Robert Lucero returns to coach basketball

When he left Westlake two years ago, then assistant varsity basketball coach Robert Lucero knew that he would one day be back. He just didn’t think that “one day” would be so soon. After spending only one year as head coach at Hays High School, Lucero is back as the head coach of the Chaps boys varsity basketball team.

Lucero made his return to Westlake when coach Tres Ellis stepped down after six seasons at the helm. Lucero was the assistant coach at Westlake for five years before he left. In Lucero’s one and only season with the Hays Rebels, he went 26-10, leading Hays to the farthest point in the playoffs they’ve ever reached, and in the process winning All-Centex Coach of the Year.

The decision to leave Westlake wasn’t an easy one for Lucero.

“Westlake’s a hard place to leave,” he said. “I was so attached to the kids that we were coaching, and there was a part of me that didn’t want to leave.”

Although reluctant to leave, Lucero said he felt it was necessary if he wanted to progress as a coach.

“I always felt like if I ever wanted to have a chance to come back, I needed head coaching experience,” he said.

Change can be hard, and it was no different for Lucero when he left Westlake. Leaving his students was difficult, but Lucero discovered it wasn’t the only thing he missed. People’s Pharmacy also was near the top of his list.

“Nobody has a place where you can get breakfast tacos and a healthy lunch right across the street,” Lucero said.

It took awhile for Lucero to find out he missed some things, mentioning that when he returned, he had realized that he missed his coworkers more than he had thought.

Lucero says there isn’t a specific person he models his coaching style after, saying, “Everyone is a unique individual, so it’s hard to mimic the way someone else coaches. I try to just be myself with the kids so it comes across as genuine. I don’t ever want to act like someone else.”

Lucero said he likes how the San Antonio Spurs play, and that he hopes that he can one day get the Chaps playing the same style of basketball.

With any first-year head coach, there are bound to be some difficulties. Although Lucero coached some of these players only two years ago, there are still challenges that the team will encounter.

“Incorporating guys who play football and basketball is a challenge because you want students to do everything they want, but in order for basketball to be at its best, we also have to some of those football players come in and help,” he said.

Success in sports is often measured by the number of wins or championships the team has won, but Lucero measures success in a whole different way. Instead, he measures success by the definition favored by legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden:

“The only way to truly measure success is to look in the mirror and know that you did your best.”

Lucero also emphasizes to his players that they push each other in practice as hard as they would an opposing player in a game so that when game time comes around, they’re prepared.

Students often forget that teachers and coaches have lives outside of their jobs. When he isn’t coaching or teaching, Lucero likes to go to the lake and run. He also enjoys reading, and gets pretty invested in Netflix, saying “I get stuck on all the Star Trek series; doesn’t matter which one, old or new or the movies.”

Lucero represents both the old and new in the same person — a coach who brings valuable experience from another strong program and already knows his players, the Westlake community and where to find a good breakfast taco.