The Lynches Fork Historical Society will meet at the Bethune Woman’s Club on Monday at 7 p.m. David Lucas, local entrepreneur, author and historian, will be the guest speaker. Lucas was on the University of South Carolina 1969 ACC championship football team and lives in the Turkey Creek section of Lee County. The public is invited.
Lynches Fork Historical meetings are held quarterly, the second Monday at 7 p.m. in January, April, July and October in the Bethune Woman's Club on U.S. 1 in Bethune. The society is a non-profit organization that is open to anyone with an interest in the people, places and events located in and around the Lynches Fork area that are a part of our heritage.
The following article and photo were written and contributed by Gee Atkinson of the Lee County Observer:
Turkey Creek native David Lucas has "done a little bit of everything" in his full and interesting life.
He’s been in the insurance business, house building and real estate development business, the truck stop business, and the oil recycling business.
Oh, and he’s been in the Arabian horse business and even made a movie about horses. Lucas was also part of a private property rights lawsuit and wrote a book about that experience. So add author to the list.
And now Lucas has written another book, this one entitled "The Championship." It chronicles his years of playing football for the University of South Carolina and being part of Carolina’s 1969 Atlantic Coast Conference championship team.
Lucas decided to write a book about that championship season because "Steve Spurrier has done the best job of any coach I've known in trying to get the lettermen back involved in the program. One of the things he's attempting to do is build tradition at the University of South Carolina."
Lucas' 1969 team was the only one to win the ACC championship. "One of my thoughts in writing this book was to try to help him with that tradition," Lucas said. "Maybe (the book) will serve as a kind of inspiration to someone who reads it and we'll win another championship."
His book is "almost an autobiography of my years at USC," Lucas says. "I graduated from Bishopville High School in 1965 and went to Carolina in the fall. That's where the book starts."
Lucas and his teammates at Bishopville High School enjoyed a 9-1-1 season his senior year with the football team. "We lost a heartbreaking game to Lower Richland," he said. "We still have a group of us who get together for lunch in Columbia; we call ourselves the B'ville Boys. It's some of my classmates--Heyward Stuckey, Buddy Wilson, Freddie Barnes, Henly Olmert, Frank Bauknight, Bruce Denny, Butch Mathis and some others. We all agree we're still not over that loss and it's been almost 50 years ago. We can still see the scoreboard!"
The book is also full of other local folks who figured into that special time. "I wish I could have come up with a better title to describe the book because it's not just about the championship," Lucas says. "It's about things that were happening all during that period from 1965 through 1969--fraternity life at USC, for example. There's some stories in there that will make Animal House people blush."
There is also the story of Lucas' summer job as a game warden's helper in Alaska. "Being from the Turkey Creek section of Lee County, I'd been to North Carolina to visit my mother's people and been to Atlanta for a wedding and maybe been to the Smoky Mountains or Edisto for a vacation but other than that I'd never really traveled," he said. "A teammate at USC had a cousin who was a game warden in Alaska so we drove across the United States to give it a try. I write about some of the adventures we had. A lot of my teammates who have read this book actually like the Alaska part the best."
"The Championship" also contains history of the mid to late 1960s. "At the end of each year, I have what music and movies were popular and some of the big news events," Lucas says. "It was an amazing time in our nation in the 1960s. There was a lot going on in the world."
"The Championship" describes the 1969 season when theGamecocks went 6-0 in the ACC. "I used my own memories but I also included newspaper articles from that year, lots of pictures and Dietzel’s ‘Letters from the Roost,’ a weekly update sent to USC fans by the coach," Lucas said.
The cover of "The Championship" features a photo of the game ball in Carolina's 24-6 ACC championship win over Wake Forest.
Lucas said how he came by that ball is a funny story in itself.
"I was a game captain along with Tony Fusaro and Lynn Hodge," Lucas said. "We beat Wake Forest and won the ACC. When the game ended, Tony Fusaro reached down and grabbed the football as a souvenir. I told my buddy, Joe Wingard, that it wasn't fair an offensive guy got a football and I didn't."
Wingard ran back onto the field, sneaking up behind a Wake Forest assistant coach who walking toward the locker room, tossing the ball up into the air. "Joe intercepted the ball in the air and here he comes running across the field with about 10 or 15 people chasing him," Lucas said. "He ran by me and flipped me the ball, Saying, here you go, Luke! I got you a ball."
Lucas donated his game ball to Carolina but was able to borrow it back to get the photo for his book cover.
Writing "The Championship" has been "a nice little trip," Lucas says. "A lot of friendships were rekindled while I was working on it. My teammates who've read the book say they've enjoyed it. And you don't necessarily have to be a Gamecock to enjoy the book. If you or someone in your family went to college and played football in the late 1960s, this is kinda what it was like."
Lucas writes in his Introduction, "I hope you enjoy this journey from the gridiron at the University of South Carolina to the wilds of Southeastern Alaska almost as much as I did taking it."
Lucas is available for any function to promote "The Championship." He's sure to entertain with a wealth of interesting tales.
You can purchase "The Championship" by visiting the book’s official website at www.CreateSpace.com/4385210 or at Amazon. If you'd like an autographed copy, you can email David Lucas at dhlucas844@hotmail or gmail.