Liberty ISD’s new athletic director Chris Lackey hopes to prepare students to be successful in athletics while also gaining real-world skills they need to thrive as adults.
Lackey, a Lubbock, Texas native, joined Liberty ISD after the New Year’s break and has been busy acquainting himself with students, coaches, teachers, administrators and the community.
“I have some big plans. I am super excited to be here. I think Liberty has had some good football teams in the past and a lot of success in other sports. We have a community that is very supportive of our athletic programs. I think there is a lot of potential here,” he said.
He vows to treat the student-athletes as his own children and work toward installing four pillars of success: respect, discipline, work ethic and commitment.
“Academics comes first. When we talk about priorities, we always say it’s God, family, academics, athletics and then everything else,” he said. “We want them to do well in sports and play as many sports as possible, but at the end of the day, we are preparing children to be successful in the real world.”
After graduating from Trinity Christian School in the Lubbock area, Lackey attended Texas Tech University until the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, changed his plans.
“I had always wanted to be in the military, so I joined the Marines. I wouldn’t wish for anyone to go to war, but it helped me grow up and have some perspective in life,” he said.
During his time in the Marines, he saw combat during an 11-month tour to Fallujah, a city in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, and attained the rank of corporal.
After leaving the Marines, he completed his undergraduate degree in kinesiology at the University of North Texas in Denton. His most recent coaching job was in Coppell, Texas.
Lackey was selected from a pool of 50 applicants, 10 of whom were interviewed by a group of 14 community stakeholders made up of Liberty ISD parents, High School Principal Karen Slack, Superintendent Dr. Cody Abshier, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Dusty McGee and three LISD board members.
“We ended up with two finalists – Chris and another young man who was also an excellent candidate. After the committee gave us two finalists, Dr. McGee, Coach Slack and I traveled to visit with these two finalists and their families, to get to know them better,” said Abshier. “Then we called a lot of references. Chris just seemed like the kind of man we wanted in our community to lead our athletic program. We are so excited for him to be here.”
According to Abshier, Lackey received glowing praise from the superintendent of Coppell ISD.
“The superintendent just went on and on about what a fine man Chris is and what an outstanding mentor and coach he is, and what an outstanding teacher his wife is. We are really looking forward to a fresh start with our athletic program with him,” he said. “We are already impressed with his work ethic. He has hit the ground running. He is working hard to move his chess pieces – his coaches – around. We want to make sure that sports are taken care of for both boys and girls.”
Coach Lackey and his wife, Christa, are parents to six children ranging in age from 5 to 13. They have four daughters and two sons who will be attending Liberty ISD schools in the near future. Christa will be teaching special education students at Liberty High School once the family makes the move to Liberty.