Tom Jurich’s collection of coaches: Reviewing 2016’s top group

By on February 3, 2016

By Dalton Ray–

In 1997, Tom Jurich was hired to be the athletic director of the University of Louisville. Over the next 19 years, Jurich would hire all but one coach for the university.  The 2016 group of coaches is one of the nation’s best and possible the top collection in school history.

Of the 17 head coaches currently at U of L, seven of them hold the school record for most wins in their sports. Three hold the highest all-time winning percentage. Four of the remaining seven have been at U of L for less than four years.


Men’s head coach: Rick Pitino (385-129)

Hired in 2001, The 2013 Hall of Fame inductee is second in school history for career wins and holds the school’s highest all-time winning percentage. Pitino’s tournament resume at U of L includes a national championship, three Final Fours and six Elite Eights. His 746 career wins ranks him fourth among active coaches.

Women’s head coach: Jeff Walz (224-82)
Walz is the most decorated coach in U of L women’s basketball history. He was hired in 2007, and brought the program to national prominence, leading the Cardinals to the national championship games in 2009 and 2013. Walz holds the school record for wins and winning percentage. He has the Sweet 16 in six of his seven NCAA tournament appearances.


Baseball head coach: Dan McDonnell (406-177) hired 2006
In his second season at U of L, McDonnell was voted the 2007 coach of the year after the Cardinals went to their first College World Series. The Cardinals reached the College World Series again in 2013 and 2014 under McDonnell’s direction. He has won six regular season conference championships in his nine years and has won 50 games in three seasons.

Softball head coach: Sandy Pearsall (589-296) hired 2000
One of the longest tenured coaches in the athletic department, Pearsall helped build the softball program from the ground up. Since 2004, she led her team to the NCAA tournament 12 straight times. Her 589 wins make her the all-time winningest coach in school history. Eight of her seasons have at least 40 wins and her team won six conference championships.


Head coach: Bobby Petrino (58-18) hired 2003, 2014
The first ever BCS bowl win for U of L came in 2006 under Petrino when the Cardinals won the Orange Bowl. He is also the only coach in school history to go to a bowl game every year he’s coached. Additionally, Petrino won at least eight games every year. The 41 wins from 2003-2006 is a school record for wins over four-year span. His 76-percent winning percentage makes him the school leader in win percentages.


Men’s head coach: Ken Lolla (132-65-34) hired 2005
The highlight of Ken Lolla’s coaching career was in 2010 when the team was 90 minutes away from winning a national championship. The national runner-up team won a school-record 21 games in 2010. Eight of his ten years at U of L  have been winning seasons, with eight NCAA tournament appearances. He holds the school record with 132 wins.

Women’s head coach: Karen Ferguson-Dayes (144-128-28) hired 2000
Ferguson-Dayes took over the Cardinal women’s soccer program when no one wanted to. She built the program and after only achieving nine wins in her first three years, she has sustained success since then. Ferguson-Dayes won Big East Coach of the Year in 2011 after her team won its first Big East title and reached the Sweet 16. She made four NCAA tournaments, holds the school record for all-time wins and most wins in a season with 14.


Head coach: Arthur Albiero, hired 2004
Albiero is perhaps the coach with the most accolades on campus. He is a two-time national coach of the year and two-time Olympic coach. He coached national champions Joao De Lucca, Kelsi Worrell and Carlos Almeida, a total of five individual titles. He also coached multiple Olympic swimmers that swam at U of L. Albiero raised the Louisville swim program to a national power and is a four-time conference coach of the year between the Big East and American Athletic Conference. From 2009-2014 the men’s, women’s or both teams won the conference title.


Men’s head coach: Rex Ecarma, hired 1990
Ecarma is the only coach Tom Jurich didn’t hire. The 2016 year will mark his 26th year at U of L and naturally he holds the school record for most wins with 411. During his time, he won five conference championships, three conference Coach of the Year awards, and made 11 NCAA tournament appearances. He was elected to the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007 and coached the number-one player in the nation, Sebastian Stiefemeyer.

Women’s head coach: Mark Beckham (106-83) hired 2007
Branching off from coach Ecarma’s coaching tree, Mark Beckham led the Cardinals to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 2007. In 2008, he won Kentucky Tennis Coach of the Year. He coached two of the greatest tennis players in program history in Rebecca Shine and Julia Fellerhoff. Both were nationally ranked in singles and doubles.


Lacrosse head coach: Kellie Young (83-54) hired 2006
Kellie Young was chosen to start the women’s lacrosse program in 2006, and by 2014, the team won its first conference championship. She guided the team to six double-digit win seasons with a school-best 16 wins in 2014. 2014 was also the first program NCAA tournament berth. She put her club in the top-ten nationally in offense five times since 2008 and top-15 defensively four times.

Field hockey head coach: Justine Sowry (65-35) hired 2010
One of the biggest accomplishments in Justine Sowry’s career came when the 2014 team defeated number-one ranked North Carolina. Sowry owns the school’s record for highest winning percentage. She achieved the school’s highest win total since 2001 with 15 wins in both 2013 and 2014, marking the first back-to-back 15-win seasons in school history. She is also 39-9 at home and the only coach to have a 10-0 record at home in a season.


Men’s head coach: Mark Crabtree, hired 1999
Men’s golf coach Mark Crabtree was Jurich’s first hire. The Hall of Famer won two conference championships during his time at Louisville. He also has two NCAA tournament appearances and five regional showings.

Women’s head coach: Courtney Trimble, hired 2012
One of the newest head coaching hires for Louisville came in Courtney Trimble. In three years, she accomplished 18 top-ten finishes and six invitation wins. In 2014, she was voted the AAC Coach of the Year and her team took home the conference championship. She produced all five of the Cardinal’s All-Conference players.


Head coach: Dale Cowper, hired 2013
Joining Louisville’s staff in 2006, Dale Cowper worked his way from an assistant all the way to head coach by 2013. In the 2014-2015 season his team broke 20 school records. 23 of his athletes earned All-ACC honors in the same season. He produced four indoor All-Americans and nine outdoor All-Americans in two years.


Head coach: Derek Copeland, hired 2012
In 2014, the rowing team made it to their first NCAA appearance coached by Derek Copeland. The team took home the AAC title as well. Hired in 2010, Copeland started as an assistant coach. During his time the team produced more than ten All-Conference players.


Head coach: Anne Kordes (117-43) hired 2011
Replacing a great head coach comes with high expectations. Anne Kordes met and exceeded those expectations in her first four years. Kordes is a two-time conference Coach of the Year, also winning two conference championships. Her 73 percent winning percentage places her second in school history and the team has won at least 23 matches in four of her five years.

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-18) that is technically award winning.Email: [email protected]

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