We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday Cardinal Couple - Lacrosse Commentary

Lacrosse Commentary

Did Kellie Young, Head Lacrosse Coach here at Louisville, cross the line in aggressive treatment of players?  That's been the question among a number of media outlets in the past few days.

We here at the Cardinal Couple made a significant effort in the spring season to cover Louisville Lacrosse, but we don't have any real inside scoop, here.  Let's face it, no media outlet really does.  No one outside of the team and coaching staff really have any idea of what the culture on that team is like.  That does not mean that there can't be oversight of potential abuses, of course.

Louisville Sports Information Director Kenny Klein took the unusual step of addressing some of the issues raised just before Football Coach Charlie Strong's weekly press conference.  Klein did not try to sweep the controversy under the rug, but did want to correct some factual mistakes in the original story.

Is it possible that Coach Young has been over the line of appropriate behavior with players at times?

 Of course its possible, and I say that based on the exact same reasoning that I use to say that I don't know that she has been - that I was wasn't there, I don't have direct experience with the culture of the team.  Young is, without a doubt, an intense don't reach this level of coaching if you aren't...and I would not be surprised if her demeanor didn't sit well with some student athletes.

I'm going to speak only for myself, here.  I'm even going to disclaim speaking for any other people involved with the Cardinal Couple.  While Paulie and I talked briefly about this topic on the phone, and I think we're largely on the same page, I'm writing only my own opinion.  I suspect the reports of issues within the Lacrosse team culture are exaggerated.  Much of the original media report seemed me.

First, the number of players said to have left the team was apparently overstated for whatever reason.

The actual number (12 in the past three years, according to Klein) is certainly in-line with a team the size of a Lacrosse roster. UofL's Lacrosse team currently has a roster of 30 players.  To lose an average of 4 players a year, from a roster of 30, to academic, personal, and other reasons doesn't seem to be a red flag to me.


One of the examples of behavior claimed to be out of line was Kellie Young leaving a voicemail for a player who was seen wearing a Michigan State shirt on campus.  I've listened to the message and while it was certainly stern, it wasn't abusive.  That doesn't seem out of line to me given the nature of the transgression.  Let's be clear, as a student athlete, wearing another school/team's apparel is a transgression.

Another incident addressed was making players do push-ups in an airport as a punishment.  Again, I don't see a huge concern here.  The original reports claimed 250 push-ups as a punishment, and again, the number apparently has been inflated.  The original report claimed that a player with an ACL injury was required to do push-ups, which seems like adding insult to injury...literally...but to my lay understanding, not a concern from a medical perspective.

Another point of contention was made about kicking a player off the team and leaving them behind after a game.  This is probably the most concerning incident that I heard, but having been at a handful of away competitions with UofL sports teams...mostly Volleyball in my case...I've witnessed student athletes leave the competition venue in the company of parents and other family.  In some cases, this has even included athletes leaving the competition venue with family of teammates.  Where I've seen this happen, there is a point made to clearly and deliberately communicate this to ensure that no one gets left behind.  At the very least, then, there was negligence on the part of the Lacrosse coaching staff to ensure that everyone was accounted for.

I'm not going to make the claim that these incidents were all innocent.  I wasn't there, and I don't have a feel for the culture of the Lacrosse team.  I have been around enough UofL athletics to know that the coaches are all driven and passionate about what they do.  I've heard Jeff Walz and Rick Pitino in timeout huddles passionately giving their teams instruction, I've seen Anne Kordes break clipboards emphasizing what she wants done on the court.  You don't reach this level of competition and excel at it without that sort of passion and intensity.

Kellie Young had the task of building a Lacrosse team from scratch and building it to a brief ranking in the top 20.  The Lacrosse team had earned a reputation of having behavioral issues and a new crop of players decided they wanted to improve the culture and change that reputation.  Culture change in an organization is hard and will cause tension and strife.  Have feelings been hurt?  Clearly.  Do some people feel that Kellie Young went overboard and perhaps even undermined her own efforts to instill responsibility and pride in the team?  Clearly, or the original media report wouldn't have been written.  Did Coach Young overstep and behave inappropriately with her team?  Perhaps.  Are any of the incidents reported smoking guns indicating such behavior?

 I just don't see it.

-Jeff McAdams

( Editor note: As co-founder and co-owner of Cardinal Couple...I will restate the original intent and mission statement of this website. To promote the joy and excitement of University of Louisville women's athletics.

The Young alleged incidents are neither joyous or exciting. I can only tell you from my numerous meetings with Kellie, staff and players over the years...the program IS on the right path to being successful and the current culture is a positive and nurturing one.

People stumble, there are setbacks in life and not every player that joins a program is not going to be above reproach their entire four or five years on campus. The occurrences only point out a very small minority of the things that are involved in the daily operations of an athletic program.

Coach Young is a good person. She is well admired among her peers and recently had her jersey retired at her alma mater. She has worked hard with youth groups, charitable organizations and national lacrosse programs and organizations. It is truly a shame that the sum of her good counsel and activities has to be overshadowed by a few isolated incidents. Let he who is without faults fire the first stone.

WE look forward to a highly successful spring season of Louisville Lacrosse with Kellie Young at the helm. We'll be in the stands cheering and our coverage of Louisville Lacrosse in a beneficial and positive way will not decrease.)



  1. Thank you for presenting a positive and factual report, Cardinal Couple


  2. I wish that a more through investigation had occurred before a number of already proven exaggerated negative reports were published.

    I also am aware of a disconnect between the more recently recruited student athletes who have come to campus with a strong Lacrosse background from those who in earlier year primarily were recruited as good athletes who were briefly acquainted with Lacrosse.

    I suggest that part of the " outrage" mat be a result of some of those with the old guard mentality and pattern of discipline issues whose playing positions may now be challenged. These students arereceiving full ride scholarships to a major university - this is not high school or summer camp leages any more.

    My brief and on the outside looking in observations of Kellie, with and without her team, have not produced any concerns from an X athletes perspetive. Ihave only observed a hard working and dedicated coach who UL is lucky to have.

    Kellie deserves an impartial and fair review, not a witch hunt due to the current climate where a very few athletes and parents can quickly and unfairly take over the power of a program from the administration.

    Please let UL be different where a coach willnot be rail roaded by the press before the facts are determined.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


Please leave your comments here. We ask you be respectful of other posts, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to you. After all, it is CARDINAL COUPLE.

Any attempts to advertise a product or other website here in the comments section without the prior consent of CARDINAL COUPLE will result in a bill rendered for advertising services and possible legal action. We're serious. No more bots.

Now, have your take...