Former Grambling State volleyball coach Chelsey Lucas suggested there was a ‘calculated plan” within the program to get her fired.
In an interview with 247Sports on Thursday, Lucas, who was fired Tuesday by Grambling following what was described as an “internal investigation within the volleyball program,” explained she was not told by university officials why she was let go.
“I can say I went to Grambling State University. For them to treat me as if I’m nothing … I’m asking over and over, where is this investigation? What is going on? Give me reasons.”
Also read: ‘We deserve so much better’: Grambling State volleyball players say coach cuts entire roster.
Lucas recounted that during a meeting with human resources, she again demanded justification for her termination only to be denied an explanation.
“I asked if you’re gonna let me go. You had to have a reason because you’re saying something in this letter that I’ve done,” she said. “So what did I do so bad that you have to terminate me a month before a season?”
The move comes two months after Grambling President Rick Gallot announced that the school had sought a legal firm to investigate the volleyball team.
Lucas, who Grambling hired in February after a three-year stint at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, drew criticism for allegedly attempting to purge the roster of current players.
The embattled coach denied she cut the entire roster, saying that “it did not happen.”
“I didn’t even start with all 19 student-athletes on the roster,” she said, detailing a meeting with 14 players in early April and extending many of them an opportunity to remain with the program following a performance evaluation. “So that didn’t happen. I wanted my administration to give me a fair chance to make sure that I go in and be able to be the coach for them and evaluate and assess these young ladies on and off the court.”
When asked what spawned the allegations of a complete overhaul, Lucas intimated that it was motivated by a combination of players associated with the program, parents, and unnamed third parties harboring “personal issues” to orchestrate her removal as coach long before roster decisions were even discussed.
“I will say that the narrative came from the student-athletes that were there,” she said. … “We also had some other ones that we just had had a plan to make sure that one — I didn’t get the job or make sure that I get fired regardless of whatever happened. This is before anybody was released from the team.
“There was a calculated plan to get me fired. And this was bought up to the (Grambling) administration. This was bought up to me by a player. This was brought up to just (the) overall administration knowing that there was a calculated plan to get me fired.”
Lucas also alleged that during a meeting with athletic director Trayveon Scott, she was instructed to cut the entire team.
“I turned around in that same meeting and told him no,” said Lucas. “That’s not what we want to do.”
As far as where the roster stands now, Lucas said the program “still have a couple of girls” remaining from last year’s team.
The former Grambling volleyball player was disappointed that the school did not do enough — in her estimation — to protect her reputation as criticism mounted in recent months.
“I was just hoping that Grambling State University athletic department, media relations, the whole university … that I’m being talked about or just trying to destroy my career, but it’s making the university look like we don’t care about student-athletes,” said Lucas. That’s far from the truth because I care totally. I love my student-athletes. That’s who I am.”