Quite frankly I was under the impression that Kellie Young’s problems as coach of the University of Louisville lacrosse team had gone away since she was first accused of being overly aggressive in applying discipline back in 2014.
All the problems attracting too much attention. Young was fired Monday by Interim Athletic Director Vince Tyra. She started the program from scratch, compiling a 106-68 won-lost record in 10 seasons. It was time for her to go.
Her dismissal coming just days after the conclusion of the 2017 season in which UofL had an 11-8 record, making its fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
While building a winning program, Young obviously missed opportunities to instill loyalty and trust from players and their parents. Too many distractions on and off the field.
About 1,000 people were on hand that snowy day on February 22, 2008 when the new University of Louisville lacrosse stadium opened for the first game, adding a 22nd sport to the program.
Tom Jurich had hired Kellie Young two years earlier to develop another national contender.
Few of the spectators knew what to expect, half of them probably expecting the game to be postponed because of the weather. The event would go on, and what fans would see was a game with non-stop action, requiring high levels of speed and endurance, and lots of scoring.
UofL would win, defeating Bryant College of Rhode Island 22-3.
Six years after that first game, the program is living up to Jurich’s expectations. UofL’s Faye Brust is ranked third nationally in scoring with 67 goals this season and the Cardinals won all seven conference games during the Big East (the AAC doesn’t do lacrosse) regular season and defeated Rutgers and Georgetown to win the Big East Tournament last weekend.
As a result, the Cardinals (15-6) are on their way to their first NCAA Tournament in school history, facing Ohio State on Friday in Evanston, Ill., at 8 p.m. The winner plays No. 5-seed Northwestern on May 11 at 2 p.m.
A sendoff is planned, with the UofL pep band participating, at 10:15 a.m. Thursday at the stadium, providing fans an opportunity to wish them well. The team will be traveling on a University bus to Evanston, pursuing the unimaginable a decade ago.
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).
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.