The Grambling State University volleyball coach took a page from former educator Joe Clark’s tough love playbook.
The new head volleyball coach recently let go of her 19-person student-athlete roster, effectually canceling their educational scholarships.
Talk about an athletic variation of a “Lean On Me” movie moment.
I hope @Grambling1901 is able to cancel those contracts just as quickly and easily as Chelsey Lucas cut her entire team and cancelled the scholarships of those students who had them.
You remember students and education, right? You are a university, after all.
— screen name currently taken (is also on mastodon) (@scnamecurtaken) April 7, 2022
The players reportedly were told of the roster shakeup during the first week of April.
According to reports, Coach Chelsey Lucas made her decision after only three practices, informing each player in a one-on-one meeting where she dropped the reality check like it was hot. The decision reportedly blindsided the players, leaving many scrambling to find a new program to call home deep into the season.
The players reportedly were informed of the coach’s roster decision during the first week of April. What seems to be the biggest issue is the lack of forewarning from the new coach. However, Lucas reportedly has the autonomy to make roster decisions as she pleases to benefit the program.
“The decision, it’s her decision to make, and she’s got some quality players coming on board,” Grambling State University Athletics Communications Director Brian Howard said to local KSLA News 12.
— A.Lucky🍀 (@jaayybad) April 8, 2022
On The Next Page
What’s more: Lucas already had her replacements vetted for a fresh start.
“I think 14 or 15 (new student-athletes) coming on board at some point, so in terms of things, I hate to say out with the old, but in with the new a little bit, Howard continued. “Obviously, we don’t want them to be cut or lose their scholarships or whatever that might be or whatever that might look like.
“At the end of the day, Coach Lucas has a goal, has a vision. We have a goal as an institution and a vision as well to win and that’s first and foremost.”
GSU Has Lucas’ Back
However, Lucas also has the full support of the Grambling State Athletics Department.
“Just as the transfer portal empowers student-athletes, our coaches are also empowered to make the decisions they deem necessary to advance their programs,” GSU athletic director Dr. Trayveon Scott said in a statement this week.
According to the GSU website, Lucas is homegrown as a 2007 graduate of Grambling State University.
“Just as the transfer portal empowers student-athletes, our coaches are also empowered to make the decisions they deem necessary to advance their programs.” —Grambling AD Dr. Trayveon Scott on new v’ball coach Chelsey Lucas cutting the entire team Monday https://t.co/FG2OKdm4Bj https://t.co/uWkyPYnvfA
— Charles T (@ChuckyT3) April 7, 2022
Paid The Cost To Be The Boss
A former Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Defensive Player of the Year, Lucas spent three seasons at the University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff, compiling a 37-44 overall record.
She also had a 27-17 mark inside the conference, and in 2021 they went 13-3.
Lucas also spent three seasons at Alcorn State, and, in 2018, the Lady Braves’ six conference wins were the most in the program since the 2003 season.
During her student-athlete years, she was also a dominant player, earning SWAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2006. Lucas is also credited with “anchoring the backline for Grambling State during its run to the SWAC Regular Season title.”
When Offense Is Your Defense
Lucas was reportedly a 2006 All-SWAC first-team selection as a senior leading the SWAC conference with 396 digs and had a SWAC season’s best 43-dig performance at Texas Southern University.
A dig is awarded when a defensive player successfully passes a ball that has been determined to be an attack attempt by the opponent.
Although her methods might be controversial, Lucas is on a mission to overhaul the program she helped make her bones within.