Kevin Stallings’s mouth has gotten him into trouble in the past, and Tuesday night it happened again.
With his outmanned Pittsburgh team well on its way to a 77-51 loss at Louisville, Stallings was overheard getting into it with what appears to be a Cardinals fan or fans.
“At least we didn’t pay our guys $100,000,” Stallings yelled, a reference to the FBI investigation that alleges Louisville conspired with Adidas to funnel $100,000 to the family of a top recruit, leading to the firing of Coach Rick Pitino and Athletic Director Tom Jurich. “We didn’t pay our guys 100 grand, though.”
Here’s the audio, via Whitney Harding of WHAS-TV in Louisville.
After the game, Stallings was sorry for the tone of his remarks but said he merely was defending his players’ honor.
“Somebody said something bad about my players. I’m just going to stick up for my players,” Stallings said, per ESPN. “Probably said the wrong thing, but I’m not going to let people talk crap about my players.
“We’re down, the game’s over with, you don’t need to insult kids who are out there trying to fight hard and do their best. So like I said, I probably should have chosen some different words, but I’m not going to let people take shots at our players.”
It’s the second straight season in which Stallings has gotten into trouble during a game against Louisville. He picked up two technical fouls and was ejected during a 106-51 loss to the Cardinals in Pittsburgh, the largest conference defeat by a home team in ACC history. Then, during an ACC tournament win over Georgia Tech, a microphone picked up Stallings yelling “goddammit, would you [expletive] get in the game” at Panthers forward Ryan Luther as teammate Sheldon Jeter lay injured on the court.
Stallings later called his comments “inappropriate.” He was similarly remorseful as Vanderbilt’s coach after a 2015 game against Tennessee in which he discovered that one of his players was taunting the Volunteers after the final buzzer. “I’ll [expletive] kill you,” he was overheard telling Wade Baldwin. Again, he apologized.
Stallings’s two seasons in Pittsburgh have been disastrous. Last year’s team went 16-17, the Panthers’ first losing season since 1999-2000. A number of players departed, leaving the team with seven freshmen and nine first-year Division I players (five freshmen started for Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, the first time that’s happened in program history). Plus, the Panthers (8-7 this season) have played their past five games without injured forward Ryan Luther, who is one of four ACC players averaging a double-double.
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