GSU basketball head coach Rick Duckett stepped down after one season of coaching. The abrupt departure stemmed from the Aug. 21 death of Henry White, a GSU basketball player.
Since the death of White, his parents have filed a lawsuit against the university.
Duckett was placed on administrative leave until Oct. 31, when his employment with the school officially ends.
In Duckett’s lone season, the team went 6-23, which included a 4-14 conference record.
Grambling State Director of Athletics J. Lin Dawson, announced that GSU assistant men’s basketball coach Robert Washington Jr. will serve as interim basketball coach for this season Monday afternoon.
After this season has concluded, Dawson said a national search will take place for a permanent basketball coach.
Even though this is a time of uncertainty and a lot of speculation surrounding the men’s basketball program, Dawson has faith that Washington will succeed.
“He understands the great challenge that lies ahead but I can’t think of a better person to lead this program,” said Dawson.
Robert Washington Jr. is a Kentucky native, with an extensive basketball history.
His collegiate career featured several successful stops. From 1995-1997 he played at Paine College. While at Paine, he was selected to the freshman team.
In 1997, he moved on to Bellville Area College where he was the starting point guard and team captain.
At his last stop, Morehead State, he was once again selected to be team captain.
Washington got his start in the coaching ranks in 2003, as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky.
In 2005, he moved on to Florida A &M University, where he served as an assistant coach, The same year, he began his first coaching job at Seminole Community College.
Before being named the Grambling State interim men’s basketball coach, he was hired by Duckett as an assistant coach in August.
Washington said that it was not a difficult situation to step into.
According to him, at Seminole Community College there were conflicts around the program; however, the team overcame the issues and finished with a good season.
Washington emphasized several times that right now the emphasis is not being placed on just basketball.
“It’s about getting our young men healed mentally,” said Washington.
He also said that the players met on numerous occasions to express themselves.
Washington is ready to move forward but will take his time dealing with his players.
” We will proceed with precaution. We will be smart and listen to our players.