Industrial Engineering and Management
2x First-Team Academic All-Big 12
“I want to be an example to show that whatever you want to accomplish, you can get it done as long as you apply yourself and work hard.”
The importance of an education is something that Karen Lacy always strived to instill in her children. Her lessons paid off; her son, Oklahoma State senior wide receiver Chris Lacy, will soon leave Stillwater with a degree in industrial engineering and management.
“It will mean the world to see my first-born child get his degree after taking on such a hard task as to major in engineering. And that’s what he really wanted to do, to stick with it and not say, ‘well, let me do something different to facilitate football,’” she said.
Lacy, a two-time member of the First-Team Academic All-Big 12 team, has always had a thing for math and says that it was in Stillwater that he realized that his passion for efficiency could play a large role in his future.
“I’m always trying to find the best way and fastest way to do something. Industrial engineering is about efficiency. After football, I plan to be a director of operations for either an NFL team or a big stadium. I’ve taken classes like project management and simulation, where I have to schedule events and keep everything coordinated with different businesses. I feel like I would be good at coordinating stuff,” he said.
“My 12-year old looks at him like a hero.”
That organization is something that has been a part of Lacy’s personality since childhood, says his mother, who has always been impressed with her son’s ability to create his own system.
“He was an inquisitive child. He liked to explore and take apart his toys and try to figure out how they worked. When he was in elementary school and we would purchase school supplies, he knew what he wanted. We would get binders and dividers and his pencil bag and he would put things together on his own. He’s just a linear thinker; he has a system for everything,” she said.
Lacy has left his imprint on the football field, as well, becoming a team leader during his time in Stillwater and using his time management skills and work ethic as an example to his teammates.
“It takes a really strong commitment timewise to be a Division I, Power Five conference football player and be an engineering student. But his dedication to his team, himself, and his future is unbelievable. I have a 12-year-old, 15-year-old, and 20-year-old son, and my 12-year-old looks at him as a hero,” said Cowboys’ head coach Mike Gundy.
“He can do anything. He’ll run his own company someday if he chooses to do that. We’re in a society today where a lot of young people don’t understand the commitment and hard work it takes to be successful. That’s not the situation with Chris.”
Lacy knows that one day his football career will come to an end and wants to make sure to spread the message to other student-athletes that the opportunity to earn a degree can set up success in a different way.
“I always remind my teammates that there is a life after football. I encourage them to take their work seriously, make sure that they leave here with a degree,” he said. “The best piece of advice I would have is just to always apply yourself. There’s nothing that can be too hard. You don’t have to be the smartest person, but just always apply yourself and you can accomplish anything.”