Kellie Young’s stint with Louisville lacrosse turns sour

Who does 250 pushups in one sitting? Is that physically possible? Most people haven’t done that many in their entire lives.

That’s just one of the questions that isn’t answered in the Courier-Journal’s lengthy story on the alleged abuses of Kellie Young, the lacrosse coach at the University of Louisville. She is accused of being overly aggressive in applying discipline, including a report that she made a player with an ACL injury perform 250 pushups at an airport (not known whether the coach knew the severity of the injury).

Kellie Young
Kellie Young

What the reporter neglects to mention in the article, however, is why players were being disciplined.  Readers are largely left to decide for themselves, with the writer suggesting that the punishment was unreasonable. To some parents in today’s society, any level of punishment for their offspring by other adults is hard to accept.

The use of obscene language by coaches in dealing with athletes shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has ever participated in athletics. Watch a college football or basketball game a few minutes and note the language being tossed around on the field or in the stands. While we don’t condone resorting to gutter language, there may be some individuals these days who only respond to the hammer approach.

What does give credence to the complaints, however, is the admission of Julie Hermann, former associate athletic director, who wrote to parents that “this is not new information to us and therefore has been part of the ongoing dialogue, along with a mass of other information we have acquired and are working on.” Reminiscent of other empty public promises these days, however, Hermann reportedly took no action and, shortly afterwards, departed UofL to become the Athletic Director at Rutgers.

Somewhat ironic because Hermann had been accused of similar activities during her time as volleyball coach at Tennessee during the nineties. She may have even sympathized with Young, having been a target herself of angry team members.

In her efforts to build a winning program, Young may have missed opportunities to instill loyalty and trust. Individuals want to work or play for leaders they can respect and who respect them in return. Most unhappy parents might be supportive if discipline efforts are seen as constructive. On the other hand, lack of playing time is often cause for bitterness for some players and their folks.

Whether the allegations in the C-J report have merit or not, the program, which she built from the ground up since 2006, has been undermined and recruiting has been severely damaged.

Whether she stays or goes, one still has to wonder about all those pushups.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

13 thoughts on “Kellie Young’s stint with Louisville lacrosse turns sour”

  1. What also is going unpublished is how the main accuser, Darby Dudley was also arrested and charged with a felony before pleading it down to a misdemeanor for throwing a giant firework at someone’s house.

    Kellie supposedly knew about the incident and gave her a chance. Instead of using it wisely, Darby bucked the discipline. As to be expected for someone who is clearly reckless. A quick glance through Darby’s tweets will show you the kind of person she is–using homophobic slurs, making fun of the Michigan shirt incident, racial suggestions…

    Misery loves company. I’m sure Darby found the other player who wasn’t being handed her position on a silver platter. Pathetic. And now, Kellie is under fire? For giving a kid a chance? Look closer before jumping to conclusions.

  2. Check out @dudedarby and tweets on 11/14/12 and 10/19/12, 8/10/12, 10/19/11…just a couple. Didn’t learn anything from her incident with the police. Can’t imagine she would look to favorably from discipline from a coach.

    1. Just looked at those tweets Liz and don’t see anything wrong with them. Plus those were retweets and the dates are after she had left Louisville. You may need to get your facts right before you jump to conclusions about a girl who only worked her tail off and was looked up to by other girls for her work ethic both on and off the field. Kicking off numerous girls and having numerous girls leave over the course of the last five years is a sign that Kellie Young is doing something wrong. Every lacrosse girl I have ever spoken to has had something bad to say about KY.

  3. Programs lose players all the time, ALL the time. It’s division one, welcome to the big girls club. It’s a choice to play D1, and there are expectations. If you ask kids who quit what they think, it’s probably pretty poor. How about asking the four year players, the ones who actually buy in and do the work.

    You don’t see something wrong with Darby’s behavior, a careless, reckless “prank”. Tweets that clearly show she didn’t learn her lesson. There’s nothing funny about jail.

    The voicemail sounds like something my mother (who cares about me very much, but gets sick of me when I consistently break rules) would say. It’s ridiculous that people are upset about that.

    Saying “every lacrosse player I know has only bad things to say about Kellie” is like me saying, “every lacrosse player I know has only awesome things to say about her.” Which is the truth.

  4. I felt the article absolutely explained the reason why these girls were being punished. Not only that, but the article gave Kellie Young the opportunity to explain herself as well. Kellie Young ultimately admitted to everything, but just had a different twist on it. On top of that, the captains on the team along with Julie Hermann herself all gave credit to these stories. So you can try to dig up as much as you want about Dudley, Campbell Garraty etc. The fact is, these things happened and Kellie Young doesn’t really see anything wrong with them. I’m sorry, you can call it the “big girl’s league” all you want, but guess what, normal coaches don’t leave players at visitor’s stadiums, or make injured players do push-ups in an airport. That’s strange behavior and not something that is going on at every “big girl’s” program in the country. I don’t see her being around much longer. Tom Jurich has had all this success with his athletic program right now. Why would he want to employ an individual with so much off the field baggage, who also doesn’t have any success on the field as well. Louisville lacrosse is a mediocre at best program in the Big East. Despite having a wealth of resources, facilities and money for the program, they consistently underperform and have nothing to show for Young’s tenure at the school. When a school like Florida is competing for national championships, there’s no reason a similar school like Louisville should be the laughing stock of the Big East. As the program transitions to the ACC, it’d be in the best interest to move on with a new coach who can have success both on and off the field, as so many coaches at U of L do.

    1. I keep coming back to the 250 pushups. A little over the top, no matter where one is coming from on the issue. As Tim Sullivan pointed out in his Monday column, the school couldn’t discuss what the girls/women did because of privacy concerns. That probably means we’ll never get all the facts.

  5. Some facts Mike: Campbell played and stayed at Louisville for all four years and was kicked off after coming to practice [under questionable conditions]. Is Garraty back for her fourth year? Heard she is, must not be so bad for her? In Div.1 they give you thousands of dollars, top gear, hotels etc.. Don’t like it don’t go. There are plenty of D -1 schools to choose from if your any good, and can follow rules, this is what good coaches at that level require from there student athletes. Also check out how many womens lax.leave U of Florida every year.

  6. Young created a new culture for Lacrosse beginning in 2012. The mission statement became hard work, dedication, commitment and team. The 2010 and 2011 seasons had a few individuals who weren’t willing to “buy in” to the philosophy. They are gone.

    Squeaky wheels get greased. Malcontents love company. Young is going about re-branding lacrosse in the right way and has Kenny Klein and Tom Jurich’s support…as well as mine.

  7. Chris-it sounds as if you most likely have never played collegiate sports. You actually bring up an important flip side to being a college athlete. Playing collegiately gives you the opportunity to get a scholarship for school. With the price of colleges these days, quitting to leave that scholarship is a tough move. So what do you do, suck it up for four years and play for an abusive and degrading coach at a mediocre program, or risk being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt after college? So to say just because Campbell and Garraty were there for four years means it wasn’t that bad isn’t really an accurate assumption. On top of that, are you saying that leaving a girl in a parking lot in another state, and making an injured player do push-ups in airport terminal are normal methods of punishment for collegiate athletes?

    Paul, I don’t see a winning culture taking place. Kellie Young has yet to post a winning record in conference play in 6 years. For a school that excels at every sport and pays there coaches extremely well, that can’t be acceptable. Imagine if Pitino had six straight years of a losing record in the Big East? Also, to say Young has Tom Jurich’s full support doesn’t seem very accurate on the surface. When asked by Adam Himmelsbach about the allegations, Jurich’s reply was simply to “ask Julie Hermann.” Not exactly an athletic director coming to the defense of his coach.

    1. We hardly excel at every sport, Tom. Having been around the Lacrosse program for several years now, I can tell you that the attitude and culture has definitely changed in the last two years. For the better. The BIG EAST is the second best conference in lacrosse and the majority of the schools have been playing it much longer than Louisville. Building a program takes time. Howard Schnellenberger had three horrible seasons before turing the football team into a winner.

      Young will get it done. I wonder about the media sources that largely ignore the good aspects and successes of some of the women’s sports programs at of UofL…but are quick to throw daggers and point accusatory fingers when something negative happens.

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