In February, the Grambling State volleyball program thought it had solved its head coach situation. The school hired 2007 GSU graduate Chelsey Lucas to lead the program. Lucas proceeded to immediately gut the team of all scholarship players in an attempt to build her own culture from scratch.
The move was considered callous and was wildly unpopular with the 19 players who were tossed aside, as well as some administration and alumni.
In an interesting turn of events, on Monday, following an internal investigation, the program decided to part ways with Lucas.
— GSU Volleyball (@gsutigers_vb) February 15, 2022
An announcement of the surprising news made by school President Rick Gallot and Trayvean Scott, the VP of athletics, read like this:
“The success of student-athletes and their ability to matriculate at Grambling State University is the top priority,” said Scott. “As we move forward in this transition and commence a national search for the next coach, all volleyball student-athletes who received scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year will keep their scholarships and remain on the team. Walk-ons will also continue to hold onto their roster spot.”
Gallon piggybacked those sentiments:
“It is the responsibility of this institution to make sure that student-athletes are afforded opportunities in a manner compliant with regulatory organizations. That applies to athletics as much as it does to academics.”
The investigation stemmed from Lucas cutting every member of the team in April. She then revoked their scholarships. Players detailed a very inhospitable demeanor shown by Lucas toward the student-athletes. In an interview they also mentioned volleyball and practicing the sport was rarely the focus of time spent with Lucas.
Grambling State Terminates Volleyball Coach Chelsey Lucas https://t.co/xJRCZOpL8l
— Grambling State Athletics (@GSU_TIGERS) July 5, 2022
Did Lucas Had Plans To Bring In Her Own Players?
When you do something as drastic as cut the entire team while revoking their scholarships, that almost looks like it was the plan from the jump. Lucas, was a 2006 first-team All-Conference selection and SWAC Defensive Player of the Year, who seemed set on bringing in her own players. In prior stops at Alcorn State and Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Lucas helped each program reach win totals not seen in over a decade.
So, her track record shows that her method works, but she was obviously on thin ice with the administration, especially as they initially supported her unorthodox and almost unethical cleansing of the program’s players.
At APB, they went 37-44 including 27-17 in conference play, including and 13-3 in 2021. She coached some talented players in Haley Gomez, the first SWAC two-time blocker of the year in conference history. Plus two other second-team All-SWAC players.
Was her goal to get them down to Grambling?
Sure seems like it was a real possibility, and if it was it never materialized because of the investigation into her actions upon arriving at the school.
Mistakes were made. But it’s never too late to make things right.
AD Scott knows exactly what to do to make it right.
Your student athletes are your greatest prize.
— Grambling State Volleyball Fans (@GramblingVBall) May 26, 2022
This Is The Second Ugly Coaching Situation At Grambling In Months
Lucas’ subsequent hiring and firing roughly four months later comes on the heels of head football coach Hue Jackson hiring disgraced former Baylor head coach Art Briles in February. Briles didn’t last as long as Lucas. He was gone in four days after major blowback from former players including Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams. The media slaughtered Jackson for hiring Briles who’s lack of institutional control was prominent in the development of multiple sexual assault allegations against his players by young women, which led to his ousting at Baylor.
Now Lucas is gone. After all that’s taken place in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, football season can’t get here fast enough.