The 2023 college football season marks the first in 30 years that Mike Lucas hasn’t served as the radio color commentator for the Wisconsin Badgers.
And now the longtime UW announcer is sharing his thoughts on what appears to be a bitter exit from the school.
Having returned to the The Capital Times — where he previously worked for 39 years prior to taking a full-time job at UW in 2010 — Lucas launched a podcast with longtime Wisconsin State Journal sportswriter Tom Oates. On the debut episode of “The Wisconsin Sportscast with Mike Lucas and Tom Oates,” Lucas addressed his exit from the university, which he pinned on Badgers athletic director Chris McIntosh.
“I’m really envious of you and the respect that you got to call your own shot, you made your decision to walk away,” Lucas said to Oates, referring to the sportswriter’s retirement in 2020. “I didn’t get that opportunity at Wisconsin. I got kicked to the curb by Chris McIntosh, my radio assignment, and along with my writing for the UWBadgers.com.”
Lucas continued: “It’s their prerogative to pick who they want in the booth, and they wanted jocks in the booth. Which is fine. I’m fine by that. But handle it with dignity, handle it with class, handle it with a little professionalism. Don’t be callous. Don’t be cowardly.”
It’s unclear what exactly about McIntosh’s handling of his departure Lucas felt was “callous” or “cowardly.” In May, the school congratulated Lucas on his retirement, before later naming former Badgers and Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher — who previously worked as a second analyst during Badgers home football games — as his successor.
Taking to social media in May, Lucas seemed to hint there was more to the story regarding his departure from the school. On Tuesday’s podcast, he elaborated, noting that he didn’t have much say in the matter.
“This is not about grievance. But I felt in fairness to some people who still thought I retired, but in fact I was retired, I thought it was important just to get it out there,” he said. “Now that it’s out there, it’s done; like I said, I’m playing the cards I have in my hand, and I’m glad to be doing so.”