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Trio of coaches criticize Rice’s practice tactics

Coaches criticize Rice’s tactics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings says he has an effective way to get his players’ attention when he’s frustrated without doing something stupid, like putting his hands on them.

He kicks a basketball as hard and high as he can inside Memorial Gym to make his point – without touching anyone.

“It’s so wrong to ever put your hands near a player to me ever,” Stallings said Wednesday. “I don’t even put my hands on a guy to move him from one spot to the next. It’s a bad practice because who knows when they’ve just done something that flips my switch in practice and I do something stupid, which I’m not inclined to because I’m never going to put my hands on him.”

Stallings, Butler’s Brad Stevens and Belmont coach Rick Byrd took part in a panel discussion on Integrity in Sports at Belmont University. Mike Rice and Rutgers were a hot topic, along with the pressure to win in this era of multimillion-dollar paydays, schools switching conferences and the need to fill arenas.

Seeing only snippets of the video showing Rice shoving players and throwing basketballs at them left Stallings embarrassed for the coaching profession. Stallings said there’s no place for such behavior in college athletics.

“I hope that it wakes the administrators up all across the country that that kind of behavior can get put to rest,” Stallings said.

– Associated Press