UPDATE: Fougerousse is no longer South's volleyball coach

Tribune-Star file/Joseph C. Garza

Coach's encouragement: Then-Terre Haute South volleyball coach Libbi Fougerousse applauds her team's effort during the Braves' win over Terre Haute North on Sept. 14 at South.

Libbi Fougerousse is no longer the high school volleyball coach at Terre Haute South - although the Vigo County School Corporation did not confirm that Tuesday afternoon.

The second-year coach of the Braves texted several members of the sports news media Tuesday morning that she had been fired, but later in the day didn't want her comments used.

And Bill Riley, director of communications for the school corporation, said Tuesday afternoon, "She has not been fired. She remains an employee of the Vigo County School Corporation as a lay coach. There has been no termination process started."

In her two seasons as head coach, Fougerousse has won more then 75% of her varsity contests. This season's Braves are 18-2, have been ranked in the top 10 of Class 4A in at least one poll, and have a junior varsity team that hasn't lost a set all season, let alone a match.

Fougerousse was told she was being dismissed on Monday, and the school called off practice that afternoon.

According to a parent of one of the players, the team had a meeting Tuesday afternoon and players were asked not to communicate what was discussed with anyone. The team then practiced, with no coaches present and with athletic director Ed Jarvis observing. 

South hosts Plainfield on Thursday, and will be the home team for its sectional next month.

Later in the day, Fougerousse posted the following on Facebook:

"I want to address the situation with my termination from the position as varsity volleyball coach at THS. I want to reassure any gossiping type that I did nothing to cause my family or me shame. That is just not who I am.

"When I interviewed for this position, I was forthcoming about how I would run my team … including playing time and communication with parents. They heard what I said, and they hired me. I wasn’t lying.

"In 2020, our team recorded a 22-10 record. My end-of-year evaluation was excellent. The only negative remark I received was regarding improper mask wearing. Apparently they thought my performance was good, as I was rehired for 2021.

"This season, our record stands at 18-2, and we have been ranked as high as 6th in the state in 4A. We won the Barr-Reeve Tourney and the Golden Spike against THN. Our JV team is undefeated.

"Now, did I have some unhappy parents and players because of playing time? Of course. Did I have parents who wanted to interject their ideas and try to tell me what to do? I did. It’s the nature of coaching.

"I never wavered about what I said in my initial interview about playing time, parent communication, and how I would run my team. I was true to myself and my word. I was true to my team. I am proud of the work my staff and I did. My staff — Cassidy Clothier, Kaitlyn Clothier, Malea Toon, Paige Yontz — was really good. I appreciate them all and can’t thank them enough.

"I am sad we will not be able to complete what we started together. I appreciate all of you who have reached out to me … players, parents, opposing coaches, friends, officials, and administrators. I cannot tell you how much it means to me. My heart is full.

"It’s a hard lesson about people and the lengths they will go to when they don’t get what they think they deserve. It’s a lesson about lawnmower parents who will do anything and say anything to clear the way for their child, no matter if it hurts other people or destroys a program. It’s a hard lesson about powerful parents in a school community and the ownership they have.

"I want to reiterate that I was never told to work on any aspect of my coaching. I was never given a warning that my bosses were displeased with me (except for better mask wearing). I was never told that I was not meeting the expectations of the administration.

"I have indeed asked for the notes from our meeting Monday, and I have yet to hear back.

"I am completely blindsided. Today my head is high. I worked very hard for this school corporation and this team. I coached with passion and love."

Update ...

On Tuesday evening, Missy Hopper, mother of a South player, made the following claims on her Facebook account.

"I am sticking up for my daughter and the girls that I love! The VCSC is not wrong in the firing of you, Libbi Fougerousse. What truth you are neglecting to say is how you told the girls that you hoped the Indy North Central team was “off their game tomorrow so we can beat them because of a player’s death”. That you called one of your players a “vegetable” because you wanted her to wake up and move on the court. Don’t forget not giving a jersey to a Senior who is dealing with medical issues, but making her sit on the sidelines to take stats in her street clothes. People deserve to know this side too. There is so much more that has NOTHING to do with play time! So don’t throw around the girls record. They earned that. The VCSC is protecting our children."

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