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.