Luke out at Vandebilt? Sources say coach won’t return

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The Kathy Luke era at Vandebilt Catholic High School is apparently over.



Multiple sources affiliated with the program confirmed to the Tri-Parish Times this week that the 27-year coach will not be back with the team next season.

Vandebilt’s administration is not commenting on the situation. Luke has also not given a public statement regarding the situation.



But the sources were consistent in saying that it is common knowledge inside of the program that Luke will not return next season.



“She’s not going to be coming back,” said a school employee who asked to remain anonymous because no official announcement had been made. “The parents and kids have been told that they’ll have a new coach next year.”

If gone from the program, it will mark the end of a storied era of basketball dominance in the Lady Terriers’ program.



Luke has been the Lady Terriers’ coach since the 1980s.



During her time with the program, the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Famer accumulated more than 600 wins.

Vandebilt also advanced to the Class 4A State Semifinals in five-straight seasons.



They won their lone state championship in the 2009-10 season in a 70-51 thrashing of Jennings in the finals.



The season following the title, Luke said winning the title was an “icing on the cake” moment for her.

“I live for this program,” Luke said during the 2010-11 season. “I live for God. I live for my family. And I live for Vandebilt Catholic girls’ basketball. It doesn’t get much deeper than that for me. … Oh yeah, and going deep in the playoffs and bringing home that gold ball – I live for that, too.”



But Luke’s final season with the program ended in turmoil.



Vandebilt rolled through the 2012-13 regular season with a 25-4 record. They entered the playoffs as the No. 3-seed in Class 4A.

In the finals weeks of the season, the Lady Terriers launched an internal investigation with the LHSAA regarding the eligibility of sophomore guard Jewel Triggs.

Triggs’ eligibility came into question as the school learned that the sophomore guard may be living in Thibodaux – a move that would have violated the governing body’s rules because she did not sit out her 8th grade season after she switched schools.

While the investigation took place, the Lady Terriers again pushed to the LHSAA Class 4A semifinals. In the clinching game, Vandebilt defeated Salmen – the team that had knocked the Lady Terriers from the playoffs last season.

But in the week leading to the semifinal game, chaos erupted when the LHSAA ruled Triggs ineligible – thus forcing the Lady Terriers to forfeit their spot in the playoffs.

The player’s family filed a lawsuit in state district court to challenge the ruling and initially won.

But the LHSAA took the decision to a higher court and had its ruling reversed, which ended Vandebilt’s season less than 30 minutes before they were slated to play a semifinals game.

Vandebilt was not listed in any of the court proceedings, which were spearheaded by Luke’s husband – local attorney Jay Luke.

Kathy Luke has not commented publicly on the situation.

She said throughout the investigation that if she commented, she’d be reprimanded by the school.

With Luke’s run at Vandebilt complete, one may be left wondering where Luke could turn up next.

Sources close to the program said that Luke would prefer to coach next season if given an opportunity.

If that job is on the high school level, Luke would need to find a new assistant coach. Errol Rogers, Luke’s 2012-13 assistant, resigned from his position following the season to take a head coaching job at a Lafayette high school.

Vandebilt Catholic coach Kathy Luke talks to parents following the team’s playoff forfeiture. Sources close to the program told the Tri-Parish Times this week that Luke wouldn’t return to the team next year. 

CASEY GISCLAIR | TRI-PARISH TIMES