Did Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings Go Too Far?

Did Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings go too far? That is the question being waged when talking about the head coach of the Commodores men’s basketball team.

After a come from behind 73-65 victory Thursday night against in-state rival Tennessee Volunteers, guard Wade Baldwin was seen clapping in the face of a Tennessee player. What happened next was hard to believe.

Upon being told by an assistant coach of the Volunteers what Baldwin had done, Kevin Stallings went ballistic. The veteran coach went after his player with a profanity-laced tirade, going as far as to threaten to kill his star guard. Coach Stallings has since apologized for the incident, per the Tennessean.

According to the Associated Press, Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams has handled the berating of Baldwin internally.

”We have heard from those supporting the coach’s intent and from those angered and embarrassed by his comment. Coach Stallings apologized to the student-athlete after the game as well as issuing an immediate public apology. Vanderbilt considers this a personnel issue and as such it will be handled internally.”

Whether or not Kevin Stallings mea culpa was heartfelt is irrelevant, it opened the door for a major problem in collegiate sports.

Parents place their trust in coaches hoping that their young men and women will be in good hands. Their faith is received with great results for the most part, but it is safe to wonder about what happens behind closed doors.

One of the most infamous recollections took place in 2013. ESPN Outside the Lines showed the exploits of then-Rutgers head coach Mike Rice abusing his players verbally and physically. In the videos Rice berated, kicked, pushed and punched his players.

Another case was Mike Leach. In 2009, Leach, the coach of Texas Tech’s football team, was suspended from the team for locking a player in an electrical closet.

Abuse of college athletes goes all the way back to days of Indiana’s former basketball coach Bobby Knight.

What Kevin Stallings did was appalling. He is a representative of Vanderbilt University. He is an adult in charge of shaping the minds of young men. How can he behave so reprehensively with the cameras still rolling? Not that the cameras are supposed to stop him, he is expected to have control over his emotions.

The irony here is that had Wade Baldwin been Stallings’ child, the face of Commodores basketball would be taking into police custody. That is how far he took it. It gives a black eye to college hoops.

Yes, Kevin Stallings, you took your actions too far. Where do we go from here?

[Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images]