College Volleyball Coach Cuts Entire Team
By: Sarah Liu
Chelsey Lucas was hired as Grambling State’s volleyball coach in February. In just two months, she would drop all 19 players from the roster, and in 3 months she would be fired (Tuesday, July 19th).
From the start, Lucas and her relationships with the players were rough. Lucas said, “the narrative of this team, even when I came in, from the administration, [was] that this was a bad character team.” She was the coach at Arkansas Pine Bluff which lost to Grambling State. According to Sheila Borders, a senior at Grambling, they have a chant. “But at the end of the chant you say, like, the B-word…the whole school says it…it’s nothing personal.” Yet, Lucas took full offense and let it out on the team.
In April, Lucas told 12 scholarship players and 7 walk-ons that they would lose their spot on the roster. Junior, Maurissa Harris says, “Lucas said that we weren’t able to practice much… that she was not able to renew my scholarship, so I didn’t really get any time to show what I could do.” Yet according to the Monroe News-Star, mostly running took place during the 3 practices, proving Harris’s point.
Many Grambling State players still needed to graduate. Yet, the school publicly supported the decision saying, “our coaches are also empowered to make the decisions they deem necessary to advance their programs.” A Change.org petition was created which got over 3,700 signatures. Grambling State hired a firm to investigate the program, even gaining the attention of Steven A. Smith on ESPN.
After getting fired, Lucas said the school was aware of her decisions and that the athletic director said for her to “get rid of ‘em all.” She claims only 14 girls were met with and all were given the chance to stay. Yet, she says she “gave them reasons why they would no longer be part of the Grambling State University program.”.
Borders' mother heard that Lucas’s former players at Arkansas Pine Bluff would transfer to Grambling State. “Not going to lie, I fact-checked. . . . Sure enough they were all there.” While Lucas has denied cutting the entire team forcefully, Grambling State is looking for a new volleyball coach. According to the Athletic Department, all scholarship athletes, including walk-ons, were to remain on the team.
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