Louisville announces the firing of women's lacrosse coach Kellie Young. Story with much more detail on its way shortly.— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_cj) November 6, 2017
The University of Louisville today fired women’s lacrosse head coach Kellie Young. While there is nothing up on the Cardinals home page yet (as of 7:30 tonight, Young’s profile is still up on the Louisville page), the Courier Journal, Louisville’s student paper The Louisville Cardinal, & WDRB 411 all have posts up about the news. The Louisville Cardinal mentioned that the team was told the news this afternoon.
The Louisville lacrosse program is officially turning a new page. As first reported by The Cardinal, lacrosse coach Kellie Young has been fired. While TLC waited for confirmation, athletics was preparing a general release and did not return our messages.The team was informed this afternoon in a team meeting.
According to Jeff Greer and Danielle Lerner from the Courier Journal, Louisville interim athletic director Vince Tyra stated that the school was going to “start the University of Louisville lacrosse program from scratch.”
The University of Louisville announced the dismissal of head lacrosse coach Kellie Young on Monday.
The firing comes 12 days after Courier Journal reported that Young was accused of negligence in a lawsuit filed by a former player, Madeline Beck, in August 2016 and more than four years after Courier Journal reported accusations against Young for abusive tactics with players.
Young, who took over at Louisville in 2006, was fired after at least 15 players transferred or left the program over the past eight months, including six in recent weeks. Nine players departed after the spring season, including All-ACC goalie Brittany Read and second-team All-ACC midfielder Meghan Siverson.
“We wish Kellie the best moving forward," said Vince Tyra, Louisville's interim athletics director, in a release. “We will forever be appreciative for the effort that she put forth to start the University of Louisville lacrosse program from scratch."
Young had a tumultuous reign as head coach of the Cardinals since she was brought on back in 2006. Young found great success on the field, indeed, she led Louisville to nine seasons with double-digit wins and helped guide the Cardinals to the NCAA Tournament four straight times from 2014-2017. Additionally, Young was named the Big East Coach of the Year in 2014 after leading the program to a record 16 wins & an undefeated 7-0 record in conference play (2014 was the first time Louisville ever made the NCAA tournament).
While Young helped lead the Cardinals to great success on the field, she did not fair as well off the field. Indeed, the program has been rocked by allegations of abuse for several years, and a large number of player departures over the last 14 months. Two players left the program this past weekend, four players left the program back on October 24th, and nearly a dozen other players left the team after the conclusion of the 2017 season. Additionally, a former player (Madeline Beck) filed a lawsuit against Young and the school back in August of 2016.
The pending lawsuit by former player Madeline Beck alleges she was hospitalized after lacrosse staff forced her to overwork herself during a conditioning activity and athletics personnel failed to provide satisfactory medical care.
The suit names lacrosse coach Kellie Young, senior sports performance coach Heather Engel, former university athletic trainer Sarah Kasprow and U of L Physicians Inc.
“They almost killed this kid, and as stated in the complaint, they failed to properly attend to her,” said David Mour, Beck’s attorney.
The civil suit has gone mostly unnoticed since it was filed Aug. 29, 2016. It stems from an incident that allegedly occurred in August 2015, when Beck, now 20, was a freshman on scholarship with the U of L lacrosse team.
"The crazy thing is, I've been an athlete since I was 5 years old and I had never broken a bone or collapsed or anything," Beck told the Courier-Journal. "I would have been OK if they had got me medical attention on time."
Accusations of abuse have dogged the program for years. Back in 2013, six players listed a number of troubling accusations against Young and accused her of directing the program “amid a culture of fear.”
In interviews with The Courier-Journal, six current or former U of L women's lacrosse players from the past two seasons, and a group of parents, described coach Kellie Young as an abusive taskmaster who directed the program amid a culture of fear.
Among the players' allegations against Young — including some that would violate the university's Code of Conduct for employees — players said that she:
• Made a player with a torn anterior cruciate ligament do 250 push-ups as punishment in an airport terminal.
• Kicked a player off the team during a road trip, leaving her behind at the stadium when the team bus returned to the hotel.
• Told two teammates to sign a contract saying they would no longer speak to each other.
• Called players a series of vulgar names and used similarly vulgar terms to refer to their parents.
While Young stated that allegations back in 2013 were not entirely true, her statement in response to the reports left much to be desired.
In an interview, Young, 42, disputed the accuracy of most claims and referred to behavior issues of some of the players who spoke to The Courier-Journal. Two current co-captains, made available by the university, said in interviews that they supported Young's coaching methods, and that the atmosphere, while intense, was nothing they couldn't handle.
Said Young: "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 gonna play harder.'"
It will be interesting how Louisville addresses their coaching situation once they release their official statement. We’ll update this post as more news develops.