WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by Greg Walker
Oliver Luck was a three-year starting quarterback (1979-81) who totalled a school records in career touchdown passes (43), completions (466) and pass attempts (911). He also ranks second in career passing yards with 5,765.
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A Cleveland, Ohio, native, Luck still ranks in the top 10 of nearly every career passing category: total offense, 200-yard passing games, 200-yard total offense games, pass efficiency rating, completion percentage and quarterback rushing yards.
Luck's single season records are just as impressive, leading in touchdown passes (19 in 1980), pass completions (216 in 1981) and pass attempts (394 in 1981). His name appears in the single season top 10 for total offense, passing yards, passing efficiency and quarterback rushing yards. He also set the school single game record with 34 completions (48 attempts) in a memorable 27-24 1981 loss at Syracuse.
Though WVU was just 22-24 overall in his four years, the Mountaineers posted a 15-9 mark Luck's final two seasons. As a senior in 1981, Luck led the Mountaineers to their first winning season in six years as WVU went 9-3 and defeated Florida 26-6 in the Peach Bowl.
Luck was a 4.0 honor student in history, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, a National Football Foundation Scholar and a two-time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American who graduated magna cum laude from WVU in 1982. He was named WVU's MVP in 1980 and 1981 and won the 1981 Louis D. Meisel Award.
He was selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the Houston Oilers and served as the Oilers' backup quarterback from 1982-86. After playing five seasons with the Oilers, Luck earned his law degree from Texas in 1987.
After retiring from football, Luck became vice president of business development for the National Football League and later was appointed general manager of the Frankfurt Galaxy of the newly created World League of American Football. He spent the ’95 season as general manager of the Rhein Fire before being named President and CEO of NFL Europe in 1996. Luck totaled more than 10 years with the National Football League before becoming chief executive officer of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority in 2001.
In that role, Luck oversaw the development and management of a $1 billion professional sports and entertainment complex for the city of Houston that included Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans, the Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets, Comets and Aeros and the Livestock Show and Rodeo.
In 2005, Luck was appointed as the first president of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamos, helping that organization to a pair of MLS Cup titles in his first two years at the helm. Luck was in the midst of securing the funding for an $80 million soccer complex to house the Dynamos when the call came to return to his alma mater in 2010 as the school's director of athletics.
Prior to his current position at WVU, Luck was appointed by Gov. Joe Manchin in 2008 to a four-year term on the West Virginia University Board of Governors, a spot he relinquished in June 2010, to become director of athletics.
The Rhodes Scholar finalist graduated from WVU magna cum laude in 1982 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He also earned a law degree from the University of Texas, graduating cum laude in 1987. In 2008, he was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
He is married to the former Kathy Wilson. They have two sons and two daughters: Andrew, the starting quarterback and a Heisman Trophy candidate at Stanford; Mary Ellen, a volleyball player at Stanford; Emily and Addison.