Grambling State on Tuesday fired volleyball coach Chelsey Lucas, a decision that came three months after her controversial move to cut the team’s scholarship players.
“The decision was made due to the determination of an internal investigation within the volleyball program,” the school said in a statement. “Any additional comments will be held until the conclusion of the investigation.”
Dr. Trayvean Scott, Grambling State’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics, said in the statement that student-athletes who received scholarships for the upcoming season will keep them and remain on the team. Walk-ons in previous seasons also will keep their roster spots.
“The success of student-athletes and their ability to matriculate at Grambling State University is the top priority,” Scott said.
Added Grambling State president Rick Gallot: “It is the responsibility of this institution to make sure that student-athletes are afforded opportunities in a manner compliant with all regulatory organizations. That applies to athletics as much as it does to academics.”
A national search for a new coach will begin this week.
Lucas, a former libero on Grambling’s volleyball team and the 2006 SWAC Defensive Player of the Year, was hired by the school on Feb. 14, after a three-year stint as head coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. She replaced Demetria Keys-Johnson, who stepped down in December.
Less than two months into her new role, Lucas informed all 12 returning scholarship players she would not be renewing their scholarships for the fall 2022 season, leaving many players stunned. In a statement released April 7 through Grambling’s athletic department, Lucas said, “I met with my team, each student-athlete, individually to discuss my plans moving forward with the Grambling State University volleyball program. My decision was to not bring back some of the current student-athletes on the team. While student-athletes are granted athletic scholarships, a scholarship is not guaranteed and not binding, per NCAA rules and regulations.”
Scott initially offered his support of Lucas’ decision, saying at the time: “Just as the transfer portal empowers student-athletes, our coaches are also empowered to make the decisions they deem necessary to advance their programs.”
A month later, the university announced an independent review of allegations involving the program, which according to Tuesday’s statement is ongoing.