BATON ROUGE, La. --
"We think the decision is in the best interest of Southern University," Southern Chancellor Kofi Lomotey said Wednesday night.
Lomotey said he'll recommend to Southern's Board of Supervisors that women's basketball coach Sandy Pugh take over for LaFleur on an interim basis.
While Lomotey praised LaFleur for his guidance of Southern athletics during tough economic times and coaching changes, he said top Southern administrators agreed that dismissing LaFleur now would be the best way to stabilize the athletic program.
"I appreciate his effort and the hard work he put in during some difficult situations," Lomotey said. "I speak for the rest of my staff in wishing him well."
LaFleur has been Southern's athletic director for six years. The Ville Platte, La., native and former LSU star played with the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts in the NFL.
Houston police said the 52-year-old LaFleur, a former NFL tight end, was arrested on a downtown street about 8:30 p.m. Sunday as a result of a reverse prostitution sting by undercover officers. LaFleur was released Monday on $500 bond.
"Given the circumstances, I think it would be difficult for the university to move forward with Mr. LaFleur as the head of the athletic program," Lomotey said.
"Bringing Sandy Pugh into the job provides us with someone who has done a great job of recruiting student athletes, who is a rising star in her profession and who commands respect immediately," he added.
Pugh has coached the Lady Jaguars 11 years, during which time Southern has won four Southwestern Athletic Conference titles and qualified for the NCAA tournament four times.
Lomotey said Southern also will launch a nationwide search for a permanent new athletic director.
Attempts to reach LaFleur by The Associated Press were unsuccessful.