Blogs and Commentary

posted 10.6.2013 at 7.30 p.m. by Sean Burns

Louisville's Young Accused of Abusive Style

Louisville head coach Kellie Young has been accused of abuses by some former players and their parents. She flatly denied the allegations.
© Kevin Tucker

Update: 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8th

University of Louisville head coach Kellie Young will not be disciplined by the school after allegations of abusive behavior from former players and parents were reported in a lengthy article published Sunday in The Courier-Journal.

The AP's Gary Graves reports that Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein said Monday that the school has addressed the matter of the allegations, some of which he disputed.

Several former players for Young at both Louisville and her previous head coaching job at James Madison have contacted Lacrosse Magazine to dispute the claims made by the players referenced in the article and to support Young's work as coach and leader.

On Tuesday, USA Today published a letter signed by 19 recent alumnae who played for Young voicing their support, many of whom among those who wrote LM over the past two days individually. Their letter can be found here.

Original post continues below with further details from the original report.


Young, who has led the program since its inception in 2006 after a stint at James Madison, where she earned the Colonial Athletic Association's Coach of the Year award with the Dukes in 2005, denied the allegations, indicating that her coaching style is "intense" but within the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

"I tell my leaders, 'It's acting. I'm just trying to get a reaction out of you. If you're going to be mad at me, great... if that means you're going to play harder,'" Young told The Courier-Journal.

The story, reported by Adam Himmelsbach, detailed several allegations by current and former players, including harsh punishments, such as making players do as many as 250 pushups in an airport terminal (including a player with a torn ACL), verbal abuse and profanity. One such instance allegedly involved leaving a player behind at the stadium after kicking her off the team following an away game without informing the player's father, who was in attendance but with no way of returning his daughter to Kentucky for class the following Monday.

Several other instances were described by the disgruntled players and parents in the article. According to the reporting, some of the behaviors Young has been accused of could be considered in violation of the school's code of conduct.

Thus far, Louisville officials have not disciplined Young. Former associate athletic director Julie Hermann, Young's supervisor, left last May to take over at Rutgers as athletic director. James Ramsey, the university president, issued a statement indicating that he had discussed the matter involving the lacrosse team with athletic director Tom Jurich and had "full confidence that he will handle it appropriately."

The Cardinals had their most successful season in program history a year ago, finishing 11-6 with a 3-5 record in Big East play. This spring is their last in the conference before departing with all other sports for the ACC and its marquee lineup of women's lacrosse programs that includes defending NCAA champion North Carolina.

Young could not be reached for comment Sunday, but the Cardinals did participate in the Stick it to Sarcoma event at Johns Hopkins. Young tweeted, "Proud coach...great day to be a Card @LouisvilleLax attacking fall ball with a great showing in B'more," after the event's completion.

Current co-captains Monica Negron and Hillary Bushway told The Courier-Journal that the feelings of the players and parents interviewed for the report don't reflect the majority sentiment of the team, and that Young's style is "tough but fair."

We will follow this story as it develops on