The Louisville Cardinal

Q & A with AD Tom Jurich

By Gavin Lapaille

University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich has proven he knows how to manage a program.

Since his hire in 1997, Jurich has overseen one of the greatest rises in any university across the nation.

He was instrumental in getting the Cards moved to the Big East Conference in 2006, while many sports have gained national recognition under his watch.

His biggest accomplishment may be creating the current gender equality that now exists on campus. U of L has added four women’s sports under Jurich: golf, softball, rowing and lacrosse.

The Louisville Cardinal sat down with Jurich to find out what may be in store for the future of Cardinal athletics.

Can U of L fans expect the addition of anymore varsity sports in the years to come?

“I don’t think so. We are really balanced now. Nine men, 14 women right now and that’s a good balance for us. Our Title IX consultant we bring in every year thinks we are doing really good. I want to be able to manage what we have and do a great job with that. I don’t want to get over extended.”

How are the plans for expanding Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium coming?

“We’re moving ahead full speed. Hopefully we’ll have some construction on the ground before the football season begins. Looks like a two year project. We’re looking at 2010; that and the arena in the same year.”

Speaking of the downtown arena for men’s and women’s basketball how is that coming along?

“I think everything is going perfect. People keep looking for buildings to get knocked down but the most important thing is securing all the financing, which is being done. I think by September you’ll start seeing dirt.”

Construction of a new field hockey arena is nearly complete.

“That’ll be the nicest facility in the United States. Most importantly, that facility, the Marshall Center, is going to have a 9,000 sq. ft. wellness center, so basically a weight room without a weakness. It’ll provide great strength training for so many of our sports on campus.”

Any other projects you are currently working on?

“Boathouse (for rowing) will certainly be something we are working on. It’ll probably be our next project. We had a couple of ideas and plans that have really stumbled; not because of anything we’re doing but with investors and the economy and things like that. We’re going to move full speed ahead because we got a great coach and a great bunch of ladies there too.”

U of L has been on a bit of a budget crisis as of late. How has this affected athletics?

“Well we’ve shared in it. Plus we made a $250,000 donation to the university’s general fund back in March. We want to do our part and try to help out anyway we can. When the university struggles in any kind of way we are going to struggle right along with them.”

Is there another sport you think is right on the brink of making national headlines?

“Women’s basketball, without a doubt. With the type of coach Jeff [Walz] is, the type of program he is assembling, the new arena coming in, the new facility he has. We basically took our old men’s basketball facility and re-did the whole thing. We’ve always been a good regional team, but we’re poising to be a national power.”

Can you talk about some of the teams U of L fans may start seeing on the football and men’s basketball schedules in years to come?

“Basketball we’re going to play a national schedule every year. In football and basketball you’re always going to see Kentucky and we’re trying to get Indiana. We would really like to get Florida State and Georgia Tech back on our schedule and we’ve been talking to Texas Tech.”

What role do you see students playing in the future of Cardinal athletics?

“That is something we want to continue to work on. I think it’s such a great environment when students are fully engrossed in the program. Now under some of the new leadership that we’re going to have in student government, Rudy Spencer, I know he is a strong proponent of raising student spirit. I really look forward to working with him and starting a new trend. I see the future being very bright for the students.”