New volleyball coach at Grambling cuts entire roster
GRAMBLING, La. (KSLA) - In a bold move, Grambling State University’s new head volleyball coach has decided to cut the entire team. The team was notified about the change in the roster during the first week in April.
KSLA’s Kori Johnson spent the day talking with athletics officials at the school to learn the next steps for the program.
Coach Chelsey Lucas was hired in February to lead the volleyball team. Now, some are calling the move unprecedented after all 19 players were released from the team Monday, April 4. Many are now asking why.
GSU Athletics Communications Director Brian Howard says athletic program leaders knew Coach Lucas would be making some changes to the roster, but he did not know to what extent. He says the move was not previously discussed, which is okay because changes like these are at the coach’s discretion. According to players, on Monday, the coach called individual meetings with each player and told them their scholarships would not be renewed.
“The decision, it’s her decision to make and she’s got some quality players coming on board. I think 14 or 15 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 said. “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.”
Howard says athletic leaders with the university wish the players whose scholarships were not renewed future success. GSU Athletic Director Dr. Trayveon Scott also issued a statement this week. It reads, “Just as the transfer portal empowers student-athletes, our coaches are also empowered to make the decisions they deem necessary to advance their programs.”
Maurisa Harris, a junior at Grambling, says she has played for the team for three years as a DS libero. Harris says on Monday, every member of the team received a message from the coaching staff about individual meetings. At those meetings, each player was advised that their scholarships would not be renewed based on the performances of the players at the three practices held this semester. Harris says the decision has left many of her teammates scrambling to find another program to transfer to late in the off-season.
“She said that we weren’t able to practice much, which we weren’t and she said based off of that, she was not able to renew my scholarship so I didn’t really get any time to show what I could do. When I was in there and she told me, my heart completely broke. Of course and I didn’t cry in there, but I did when I left and it just hurts really bad, the fact that it was snatched away so fast,” Harris said.
KSLA also reached out to Coach Lucas for a comment on the situation. As of the publication of this article, Coach Lucas has not replied.
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