Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings has apologized for a postgame incident Thursday night in which he was caught on camera berating Commodores player Wade Baldwin IV profanely, at one point saying, "I'm going to f---ing kill you."
Stallings told ESPN "he did not mean his words literally" when confronting Baldwin, who had taunted a Tennessee player in the postgame handshake line.
"I handled it completely inappropriately and I apologized to Wade -- and I need to apologize to our fans and the Vanderbilt administration," the longtime coach told ESPN. "Having said that, and it may seem as though I'm trying to rationalize my behavior, sportsmanship will continue to be a high priority. I did not mean it in the literal sense and I've never touched a player in all my years as a coach. That's not me. I will learn from this and handle this situation differently in the future."
"I've never touched a player in all my years as a coach. That's not me. I will learn from this and handle this situation differently in the future."
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings
Stallings was informed of Baldwin's actions by a Vols staff member. The Commodores coach then pulled Baldwin out of the handshake line and loudly and profanely berated him.
Stallings also apologized for his comments via a university statement, saying: "One of our players acted inappropriately and violated what we believe to be 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.''
Sources told ESPN that Stallings has had issues with Baldwin trash-talking to opponents this season.
In his postgame news conference, Stallings said that Baldwin has "got some things to learn, some growing up to do if he's going to play in this program."
Baldwin tweeted that he was not upset about the incident.
Coach Stallings is the best coach in America. I felt no offense to anything. We are both fiery people and that's why I chose Vandy ⚓️👇
— Wade Baldwin IV (@The_Fourth_Wade) February 27, 2015
The Tennessean on Wednesday reported that Baldwin called out Tennessee guard Josh Richardson after taking offense to Richardson's remark that the Vols had the edge over the Commodores because they were "a little bit tougher" following a 76-73 overtime win at Vanderbilt on Feb. 11.
"To call us punks and [say] they outphysicaled us -- from an opposing player, you are not supposed to be treating people like that after a game," Baldwin said Wednesday, according to the Tennessean. "You should show some sort of respect for your opponent, especially since you have to play them again. That comment that he made really offended me, offended Coach Stallings and I think offended a lot of kids on my team.
"We are going after [Richardson]. We're going after Tennessee. We're going after their fans -- all of that. This is a big rivalry for us."
Baldwin's teammate, Damian Jones, told the Tennessean that Richardson's comments that the Vols were more physical were "kind of true."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.