Coach Speak

By Jeff Lippman - October 25, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The topic that seemed to interest Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings the most at this SEC Media Days was the fact that swearing on the sidelines would no longer be tolerated by SEC officials, according to the statement made by supervisor of officials Boudreaux.

Stallings, apparently one who enjoys a good swear on the sidelines, said he understands the basis behind the new rulings, but says it will be difficult to change his ways, that's just how he talks.

Well, I'll let him tell you, he said it best.

"We're just out there trying to do our job, just like they are just out there trying to do their job," Stallings said of the officials. "As far as the swearing and cursing and things, I'm probably in trouble first of all."

See, I told you he has a penchant for the four-letter word.

"I can see in a situation where an official is running away from me and I say something like, 'Shoot!' Well, is the guy gonna turn around and T me up because he thinks I said something else?" the coach asked. "I truly am all for sportsmanship and I think the official has every right if they want to put a rule in that says if you direct some abusive language towards the official, to bust the guy up. But an official said to me one time, 'Coach, you swore at me.' I said, 'I swore? That's how I talk, it wasn't intended for you'."

So how did coach Stallings learn the art of the cursed word? Anyone who knows how former Purdue coach Gene Keady spoke on a basketball court would understand.

"I worked for Gene Keady, you know, come on," an exasperated Stallings said to laughter abound. "When he and coach [Bobby] Knight were coaching against each other, the officials didn't get all squirrly because they heard one of them drop out something that might have offended the four year old in the fourth row."

Stallings is most concerned with officials misinterpreting his foul language as directed to them, or even more importantly, will they give him a technical foul just for swearing at his own players?

"I'm not for the coaches being able to rant and all that, but as a coach, you learn to speak a language that your team understands and they learn to understand the language that you speak," he said. "If I want to say something to a player, I ought to be able to say something to one of my players. My players don't seem to have a lot of problems with what I say."

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:32 AM on October 25, 2007

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