Andrew Luck may be the NFL’s quarterback of the future, but he is shaped by a unique past. Few quarterbacks in the NFL have fathers who also played in the league, but even fewer have ones that still influence football today. Oliver Luck has been an influence on the game of football since he first started for West Virginia in 1978. Since then, Luck has worked all over the football landscape, helping to grow the game both domestically and abroad.
As a parent, Luck is totally hands-off from Andrew’s development. He briefly coached Andrew’s youth teams, but doesn’t believe in forcing his kids into activities. Of the four Luck children, three have been D-1 athletes at some of the nation’s top academic schools.
Here’s some background on the Luck patriarch:
1. He is Originally From Cleveland
Luck originally grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. His father was a chemical engineer, and his mother was a chemist. They couldn’t provide Luck with any advice during his athletic endeavors, but supported him unconditionally. Luck was good enough in high school that he played college football at West Virginia University.
Luck played sparingly his freshman season, but was the full-time starter for three seasons. His name is all over the West Virginia record book, and he was a two-time Academic All-American.
2. Luck Was Replaced By Warren Moon
Luck was good in college, but had poor timing making the jump to the NFL. The Houston Oilers selected him in the second round of the 1982 draft, hoping he could be eventually be the starting quarterback. Unfortunately for Luck, the 1982 season was ruined by strikes and shortened to nine games. Without a full season to adjust Luck struggled the following year, starting six games during a 2-14 season.
Before the 1984 season, the Oilers signed Warren Moon from the CFL. Moon replaced Luck as the starter, effectively ending his tenure as the team’s starting quarterback. Luck backed up Moon for three seasons in total, and retired after appearing in just 20 games over a five-year career. He threw one touchdown pass.
3. He Briefly Ran For Congress in 1990
Luck had foresight regarding his playing career, and sought to prepare himself for life after football. Oliver would play football during the fall, and attend law school in the offseason. By the time he retired from football, he had graduated and was ready to begin his legal career.
It was during that time that Oliver married fellow lawyer Kathy Wilson. Luck also accepted a legal fellowship in Germany, where he learned about the European economy. Upon returning, Luck dabbled in politics. Oliver ran for a congressional seat for West Virginia’s second district. Luck ultimately backed out of the race, and soon found himself back in Europe. Luck agreed to work with the NFL on developing its projects abroad. With his passion for football and ability to speak fluent German, Luck was a natural choice to help grow football internationally.
4. Oliver Started His Family in Europe
By this time in the Luck family, Andrew had already been born. Over the course of the Luck family’s time in Europe, three more children would be born. For the duration of the 1990’s, the Lucks were football ambassadors- but the experiment wasn’t working. The NFL was losing millions on the project, and the talent wasn’t getting any better. Luck jumped ship in 2001, several years before the entire idea of a Euroleague collapsed.
Upon returning home, Oliver accepted a job with the Houston Sports Authority, where he attempted to revamp the growing city’s facilities. During his time as CEO, every major sports team in Houston built a new home. The biggest move Oliver made was for one of his greatest passions. Oliver and Andrew both fell in love with soccer during their time in Europe, and Oliver worked closely with the Houston Dynamo to build a soccer-specific stadium. He enjoyed working with the team so much that in 2005, Luck signed on as the team’s new president. He served that role until 2008, when the game he loved called him back once again.
5. Luck is one of 13 People That Decides the CFB Playoffs
These days, Oliver Luck is a suit for the NCAA. In 2014 he signed on to be the executive vice president of regulatory affairs. Luck will play a role in the future landscape of college sports, whether it be conference alignment or payment for athletes.
In the immediate future, Luck still holds weight in the college football world. In 2014 Luck was named as one of 13 members of a committee that decides which four teams will meet in the College Football Playoff.
One reason Oliver took the NCAA job could be the location. The NCAA headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, the home of Andrew Luck and the Indianapoils Colts. When Andrew was asked about his Dad’s career move, he had this to say:
“I spent most of my adult life trying to get as far away from my folks as possible,” Luck said jokingly. “Very excited.”