Stallings right but wrong method

It's buzzing around the internet and news media, Kevin Stallings "berates" player for taunting a player from Tennessee. Sure he was somewhat out of control after the game but in my opinion more coaches need to vigorously enforce high standards of conduct among their players like Stallings does.

After Vandy's 73-65 win over Tennessee, Wade Baldwin clapped and turned towards a UT player, continuing to clap, as they passed each other. A UT staff member reported this to Kevin Stallings and the 16th year head coach went nuts as he trailed Baldwin during the postgame handshake session.

Stallings has always promoted good sportsmanship among his players. We learned that quickly when Stallings took over at Vandy; and not just the players. In the 'Dores first home game at Memorial Gym against the rival Vols, Stallings asked the VU student body to stop it with a rude, disrespectful chant towards the visiting UT team.

It's the truth though; poor sportsmanship has gotten out of control. We saw the BYU player get knocked out by Oregon's LeGarrette Blount a few years ago after a college football game. That was apparently the result of taunting. In discouraging taunting, Stallings may be protecting more than just the opposing team's feelings. He may also be protecting his own player's physical well-being. I for one, believe that the gestures and show boating of some athletes is out of control.

A coach has to have the attention and respect of his players to get them to do what is right. This is call "self-discipline". Doing what is right, even when the cop, boss, teacher, parent or coach isn't watching. Having 20 years’ experience in the military dealing with young men, I can relate to a college coach's challenge of dealing with these young mean between the ages of 17-22. These young men will absolutely run you over if you let them. You've got to lay down the law and be somewhat a stern disciplinarian to keep them in line. Both young soldiers and athletes are generally in good physical condition and tend to believe they are super human and can handle anyone. If you as their leader seem timid or meek they'll disregard your leadership and run wild.

I'm glad Stallings encourages and enforces good sportsmanship among Vanderbilt's players. Bad sportsmanship and taunting is not smart. As discussed earlier, it can lead to injuries. An opponent who is taunted will also be bouncing off the walls the next time he faces the taunter on the court.

While I believe Baldwin deserved a butt chewing, I think Stallings may have gone too far. He probably should have done it in private, especially not in front of his team's rivals. Some reports say that Stallings said something like "I'll kill you". While I find that hard to believe, if it is true, there should be some ramifications of this. Maybe some anger management counseling. Stallings certainly does seem remorseful for what happened and that's at least a start in fixing something like this. He’s also never been destructive or violent towards his players.

Regardless of what happened, I still believe in Kevin Stallings. I think he cares about his team and Vanderbilt University. I also don't think he'd ever do anything to harm one of his players.

“After the game, an incident occurred in which I need to apologize for. One of our players acted inappropriately and violated what we believe is good sportsmanship following the game.

“In my haste to resolve the situation, I made a very inappropriate comment. While obviously it was not meant literally, it was still inappropriate. I apologized to the player immediately following the game. Displaying good sportsmanship is of the highest priority in our program, win or lose. I am very remorseful of my actions tonight." Kevin Stallings after win at Tennessee.


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