NACOGDOCHES, Texas — An assistant women’s bowling coach at Stephen F. Austin is out after the university discovered he had a relationship with a student-athlete.
SFA assistant Steve Lemke opted to resign rather than be fired after the school learned of the relationship, which also led to a split from his wife, who is the team’s head coach, The Lufkin Daily News reported Tuesday,
“He’s not working here anymore,” SFA athletic director Ryan Ivey said. “From a departmental standpoint, he had a choice, and he chose to resign.”
The 38-year-old Lemke, who is married to head coach Amber Lemke, helped coach the team to two national titles and two second-place finishes before resigning April 10. The couple has since filed for divorce, according to court records.
The newspaper did not identify the student-athlete involved but reported that she was a member of the bowling team.
Ivey said that although the relationship was consensual, Lemke and the student violated the university’s relationship rules.
Steve Lemke said his wife learned of the relationship when she saw text messages from the woman on his phone.
“I knew it was kind of a no-no, but there’s not a rule saying it can’t happen,” Steve Lemke said. “There’s not a law saying I’m going to go to jail for doing something like this. There’s nothing in stone. I guess it’s just an ethics code, like we frown upon it, but there’s no rule, there’s no law broken.”
The student is no longer on the team after exhausting his eligibility.
“As soon as we found out, we went through the process,” Ivey said. “We support our student-athletes and obviously Amber, with what was going on.”
The team won NCAA titles in 2016 and 2019 and finished second in 2015 and last year.
Amber Lemke has coached the team since the 2011–12 school year. Steve Lemke worked as a volunteer with the team until he was hired as an assistant in 2019.
Amber Lemke, who remains the coach, did not respond to a request for comment from the newspaper.