As the team enters the 2009 season, head coach Penny Lucas-White begins her 14th season at the helm of the Air Force volleyball program. Following a stellar playing career at the collegiate, national and international levels, Lucas-White remains the only coach in the Falcons' Division I history. She joined the Academy staff in 1996, as Air Force was making the jump from Division II to Division I status.
During her tenure on the Falcons' bench, 18 different cadet-athletes have been named to the academic All-Mountain West Conference team (including one MWC Scholar-Athlete of the Year), while four others earned academic All-Western Athletic Conference honors. Five have been named to various academic all-district teams and two others have been named to the All-MWC teams.
Lucas-White joined the Academy staff in 1996 from the University of Memphis, where she compiled a 95-80 record in five seasons as the head coach of the Tigers. She guided the team to a 27-8 record in 1994 and their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. That team recorded a perfect record in conference play and picked up its second Great Midwest Conference title. One year earlier, the Tigers nabbed the conference title with an 11-1 record. Lucas-White earned conference Coach of the Year honors in 1993 and 1994 for her spectacular seasons.
The Falcons' mentor draws her coaching expertise from an impressive playing career at the collegiate, national and international levels.
Lucas-White earned first-team All-SEC honors, as well as the MVP award, in her first season playing at Louisiana State University. Lucas-White is still ranked among the program's top-10 for assisted blocks in a season (129) and digs in a season (400); both which she set during her junior year. After an outstanding three-year career at LSU, Lucas-White opted to leave the collegiate ranks to play on a higher level overseas in the German Professional League.
Two years later, the U.S. National team came knocking at her door and the middle hitter was chosen to play with America's best in the NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean) tournament and at the 1985 Pan-Am Games. Remaining stateside, Lucas-White spent two years playing professionally in the U.S. Pro League, splitting her time between the Dallas Belles and the Chicago Breeze. While there, she received awards for both blocking and spiking efficiency.
Overseas play called once again and Lucas-White departed the United States to join the ranks of the Italian Professional League in Matera. During the 1988-89 season, she competed with the team in Argrigento and was named to all-tournament teams twice in three years. Also during the 1988-89 season in Argrigento, Lucas-White served as a player and coach.
While competing professionally in the United States and Europe, Lucas-White remained active during the collegiate season as an assistant coach with the Auburn University women's program from 1987-89. The Auburn team boasted a 63-47 record in her tenure, achieving back-to-back 20-win seasons in 1988 and 1989.
When her tour with the Italian League ended in 1991, Lucas-White accepted a position as the head coach at the University of Memphis. While there, she combined skill on the court with skill in the classroom, as her Tiger players maintained an average grade-point-average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
As a player, Lucas-White continued to hone her skills, earning both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors for her United States Volleyball Association Open team in the summer of 1993.
While coaching at Memphis, she finished her education, earning a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1993. Lucas-White continued her professional play during the 1997 season with the Colorado Thunder of the National Volleyball Association (NVA). The Thunder voted her to be the league's most valuable player and its number one pick in the NVA inaugural draft.
In addition to her coaching duties at the Academy, Lucas-White has also been an active member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). In 2003, she helped the AVCA receive a NCAA minority women's coaches grant for a program entitled "Volleyball: Live It! Love It! Coach It!" and has served on the board of directors as the at-large representative for minority coaches.
Lucas-White has two sons, Kyle and Keefe, and a daughter, Kayla.