Bowling Coach In The Gutter, Resigns After Affair With Player
In what has to be considered one of the more stranger stories recently, Nathan Hague fromStephen F. Austin Assistant bowling coach Steve Lemke chose to resign instead of facing termination this spring after the university discovered his involvement in a romantic relationship with a student-athlete. Steve Lemke, who is married to head coach Amber Lemke, resigned from his position on April 10. He had contributed to coaching the program, leading them to two national titles and two second-place finishes.
According to SFA athletic director Ryan Ivey, Steve Lemke is no longer employed at the university by his own decision. The athlete involved in the affair remains unnamed.
Steve Lemke defended his actions, asserting that the relationship was consensual. However, he acknowledged that the heightened attention due to the team's national championship success could have amplified the situation. He acknowledged the ethical implications of a coach/teacher being involved with a student-athlete in a college setting.
Hogue actually gets Lemke to go on the record for the story.
“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.”
SFA's women's bowling team is the only sport at the university to have won a national title since moving to NCAA Division I. They were crowned NCAA champions in 2016 and 2019, with runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2022.
While Lemke and the athlete were both consenting adults, their relationship violated the university's regulations regarding relationships, according to Ivey. Steve and Amber Lemke have subsequently filed for divorce, as confirmed by court records. Amber Lemke did not provide any comments in response to requests.
Steve Lemke acknowledged that he was aware of the potential issues surrounding the relationship, stating that although there were no specific rules or legal consequences, it was an ethical concern. While state law does not prohibit consensual relationships between faculty and students at the college level, many universities have implemented policies forbidding such relationships.
Hugue gets another money quote as Lemke continues to defend himself and his actions.
“I was the stay-at-home dad for five years with the kids while Amber got to go off and coach the team, and when she’d get back, I’d run practices on top of taking care of the kids while she was back,” Steve Lemke said. “When they’d travel again, I would sit back and take care of the kids. Then when I got hired on, she almost forced me to run practices. I was a volunteer the entire time before that trying to help out Amber. Once I got hired on, one thing stemmed from another. I felt like I was doing too much for what I was being valued at.”
The affair between Steve Lemke and the bowler was discovered when Amber Lemke found a text message from the athlete on Steve Lemke's phone. Although the message did not contain explicit details, it expressed admiration for Steve Lemke. Amber confronted him about it, leading to Steve eventually confessing to the truth after she went through his phone.
The athlete involved in the affair is no longer eligible and will not be returning to the team. Ryan Ivey emphasized that once the university became aware of the situation, they followed the necessary procedures and provided support to both the student-athletes and Amber during the process.