DEVILLE: Chatman resignation a shocker

Shocker! That is all that can be said right now.

The LSU community was stunned Wednesday afternoon when third year Lady Tigers coach Pokey Chatman abruptly resigned as the head coach of the LSU program.

 

Details are sketchy as of this hour as of Chatman's resignation. But fans everywhere can only ask why.

 

Chatman notified the university today of her intentions.

 

"I have notified the University today that I will step down as Head Coach of the Women's Basketball program in order to allow me to pursue other career opportunities," Chatman said in a prepared statement.

 

"I will continue to serve as head coach until LSU's participation in the NCAA tournament is concluded.  That will allow this team to successfully enter and compete in the upcoming NCAA tournament.  I will continue on contract until April 30, 2007."

 

"I appreciate the opportunities afforded me at LSU and the cooperation of the University in allowing me to pursue other career opportunities."

 

Other than that, Chatman left it as is and refused to comment any further about the reasons for her resignation or her future.

 

"To eliminate any further distraction from our preparation for and participation in the NCAA tournament, I will have no further comment and answer no questions on this subject," she said. "I hope you will honor that position."

 

LSU athletic director Skip Bertman was vague in his comments other than to thank Chatman for her service to the university and wished her well in future endeavors.

 

"We respect the decision that Pokey Chatman has made regarding her future career opportunities," Bertman said. "On behalf of LSU, I thank her for her athletic accomplishments as a player and as a coach, and for the community service work she has performed for Baton Rouge and Louisiana.  We wish her success in her future endeavors."

 

With the NCAA Tournament looming for the Lady Tigers, Bertman too declined to further discuss the situation.

 

"In the best interests of the LSU women's basketball team as they prepare for post-season competition, I will make no further comment on Coach Chatman's decision," Bertman concluded.

 

So that is that.

 

Chatman has resigned the post she was groomed for – the job she was destined for. Well before Sue Gunter was forced to step down from the head coaching position at LSU, most everyone knew the job was Chatman's. When Gunter's health failed, it was no surprise that Chatman was heir apparent to the position.

 

So three Final Fours later, two SEC titles and a sparkling 91-13 record as head coach – in just two and a half seasons – Chatman resigns? Many people are scratching their heads.

 

Chatman, making almost half a million dollars a year as the coach of the Lady Tigers, with a successful and talented team and an ultra popular reputation in the Capital cit, now resigns?

 

The only question can be – why?

 

The rumors are out there – and they are rampant.

 

First and foremost, some think Chatman is headed for Gainesville, Fla. to succeed the fired Carolyn Peck, who was terminated after the Florida Gators loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament.

 

Sure Florida has plenty of money – considering it just captured national titles in football and men's basketball – but that doesn't seem likely. Why would Chatman step down from her dream job to take another position at another SEC school for more money (a la Nick Saban) and still agree to coach the Lady Tigers through the NCAA Tournament?

 

The next speculated scenario is that she committed some university of NCAA infraction that would force her to step down. If that is the case why would she be allowed to coach the team through the remainder of the postseason?

 

Then there is the question could Chatman have possibly been found acting in appropriately with a player or someone also close to the program?

 

At this time, no one knows for sure. It will surely all come out in the wash on down the line.

 

At the present time, however, LSU is headed to the Big Dance, most likely as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Chatman will be its coach, but everyone will be left scratching their heads.

 

In the meantime, with Chatman on her way out, folks have to begin thinking about the future. The two obvious possible replacements would be Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey and Texas Tech's Kristy Curry. Both are natives of Louisiana and would be no-brainers to follow Chatman in Baton Rouge.

 

While naming a successor seems on down the road right now, LSU fans can only sit and wait in shock as the future of Lady Tigers' basketball unfolds before us.

 

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Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag. Reach him at matt@tigerrag.com.


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