Tag Archives: Tom Jurich

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University of Louisville, Adidas strike new deal

By Annie Moore

University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich together with Adidas executives announced on Thursday the University’s new contract with Adidas. The new deal extends the partnership between the two for another four years, through 2018-19.

The Portland, Or. based company will supply uniforms, footwear, and accessories for all 23 of Louisville’s athletic programs.

“It’s a very exciting day for us in the athletic department,” Jurich said. “The number one objective I had going into this, was how do we insure that our student-athletes have the premiere uniforms and apparel as we move forward, and this contract accomplishes all off those things.”

In addition to athletic outfitting, Adidas will provide ‘extensive investments in the the Cardinals’ athletic programs including advertising campaigns, equipment room expansion, digital/video technology, support for national champion spirit squads, a formalized sport administration internship program… and co-branding opportunities… including TaylorMade equipment within the UofL Golf Club.’ according to the press release issued from the athletic department on Thursday.

Louisville football head coach, Bobby Petrino was on hand as well, and excited about the new deal.

“This is a great thing for our players, to be able to have the top of the line uniforms, the materials that we’ll use, to keep them dryer, lighter, faster, and then the apparel,” Petrino said. “One of the things I’ve always felt is important is for your players to look good, feel good, you have a chance then to go out and play well.”

Petrino was reluctant to comment on whether the Cards would be unveiling on of its new five uniforms in the opening game against Miami on September 1, but instead said that it would be very fun to see what happens with the apparel down the road.

“I think you’re going to see  things on the cutting edge,” Petrino said. “New things that will be exciting for everybody, the players, the recruits and the fans. We’re going to be on the edge of the fence as far as the top of the line with the way you get to look, the way you get to dress and the attitude you play with.”

The deal will also benefit fans, with additions such as new spirit shirts for student season ticket holders and ACC inaugural year fan giveaways.

“It’s going to be fun now, get ready because it’s going to be fun,” Petrino said. “I can’t wait, to be honest with you.”

 

Photo by Michelle Lewis

Bobby Petrino back at the helm

By Annie Moore—

Former University of Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino is taking back the reins of the football program. Petrino was offered the position Wednesday, and his appointment was announced at a press conference and fan reception on Thursday.

“It’s great to be home,” was Petrino’s constant refrain during the conference. His prodigal return to Louisville after his fall from grace just eight years ago has been met with varied responses since his name was added to athletic director Tom Jurich’s short list of candidates. Jurich has vehemently confirmed that he is committed to making the best choice for Louisville.

“I will not let this place down, this place means everything to me” Jurich said. “Bobby and I have a lot of history together. Some of it’s great, some of it is not great, and I knew that. The coach he was eight years ago is not the coach I want to hire. 180 degrees he’s changed, I told him I only wanted 170 degrees, that other ten percent was the old guy we want back.”

Petrino was head coach at Louisville from 2003 to 2006, before leaving for a brief stint in the National Football League with the Atlanta Falcons. After leaving the Falcons after just 13 games, Petrino was head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, where he infamously was fired for inappropriate conduct. Petrino just finished up his first season as the head coach at Western Kentucky University.

Petrino was 41-9 in his first three years with the Cardinals, including the program’s first BCS bowl win, and he went 4-0 against the University of Kentucky in his time at Louisville. While this gained him favor with fans, the manner in which he left not only ruffled the feathers of CardNation, but many inside the department, Jurich included.

Headed into its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference and coming off the sting of Charlie Strong’s departure, many fans are reluctant to trust a man who has already scorned the program once. Petrino addressed these concerns Thursday morning.

“I want everybody here to know, this is my destination job, I can’t wait to get started,” Petrino said. “It’s a privilege to see how everything has moved along, we’re now going into the ACC. It’s a great challenge to see the schedule coming up and I can’t wait to play that schedule.”

University of Louisville President James Ramsey weighed in on the decision to hire the estranged coach.

“Every chance we get to talk about the University of Louisville, we talk about the amazing trajectory we’re on,” Ramsey said. “It’s a trajectory that is amazing in terms of academics and athletics, our mandate and goal is to continue on that trajectory. To do that, we have to have the right people. We’ve got the very best person to lead the Cardinal football team forward into the ACC. This is Tom’s decision, but it is supported by the university.”

While the University of Louisville Athletic Association unanimously confirmed Petrino Thursday morning, the jury is still out on whether the new and improved Petrino will live up to the hype. One thing made perfectly clear, is that he is ready to start this new chapter at Louisville.

“I’m more energized, I’m more excited than I’ve ever been, to be back,” Petrino said. “Having the opportunity to be in the stadium brings back some of the best memories. I’ve made mistakes both professionally and personally, it’s just something that I’m not going to do again.This is our home, I’m just really excited to be a Card.”

 

Photo Courtesy of Kevin C Cox/Getty Images

Charlie Strong takes head coaching job at University of Texas

By Annie Moore

 

Less than a week after losing its starting quarterback, the University of Louisville football program took another big hit on Saturday. Head Football Coach Charlie Strong accepted an offer to become the Head Coach at the University of Texas.

After much media speculation Friday night and all day Saturday, Strong officially accepted the offer Saturday night. Strong spoke with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich following a staff meeting Saturday morning before making the commitment official. It was reportedly important to Strong to speak to Jurich before the announcement was made.

Before Coach Strong’s arrival, Louisville had three-consecutive losing seasons. Strong was 37-15 in his four years at Louisville, including three bowl wins and two consecutive double-digit win seasons.

Strong’s $3.7 million base salary at Louisville made him one of the top ten highest-paid college football coaches in the country.

Strong is the third big name to announce his departure from Louisville in the past week. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Safety Calvin Pryor both announced earlier in the week that they would enter the 2014 National Football League draft.

Despite his desire to meet with Jurich before making it official, Strong neglected to hold a meeting with the team. Many players found out their coach was leaving through social media and television reports.

This is an ongoing story, the Louisville Cardinal will monitor and provide updates as they become available. 

Louisville card head

‘The Voice of the Louisville Cardinals’

By: Daryl Foust

When I talk about ‘The Voice’, I’m not talking about the American reality TV singing competition or even the Season 5 contestant and 2011 Miss University of Louisville Olivia Henken. I’m talking about the man who has been the voice of the Cardinals for the past 40 years. Paul Rogers.  A man who has watched the University blossom, I decided to sit down and discuss his experience and share the history of the Cards from the man who has seen it from the lowest times into what we know it as today, the ‘Year of the Cards’.

Rogers grew up in the city of Louisville as a Kentucky fan that followed Louisville athletics but attended UK games with his family. After graduation from Eastern High School, he attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in telecommunications.  In the summer of 1973, Kentucky football moved to its current home of Commonwealth Stadium and Rogers moved to his current position, his first and only job as ‘The Voice of the Louisville Cardinals’ (football and men’s basketball).

As far as campus and how it has progressed over time Paul says “You wouldn’t recognize it.  When I started… Probably the best example I can give you is that I grew up in Louisville and never really knew where the university was.”

Rogers says when it comes to basketball, “(Bernard) ‘Peck’ Hickman laid the foundation for basketball even before Denny Crum came.”  Hickman lead the Cardinals to the 1948 NAIA Basketball Championship, which at the time was the prominent basketball tournament. Oh how the times have changed.

The University’s next major move was hiring Denny Crum, assistant coach under the UCLA great, John Wooden, to become the men’s head basketball coach in 1971.  In his first season he led the Cardinals to the Final Four and the program’s first national title in 1980 defeating his alma mater, UCLA by a slim margin of 59-54.  The University’s men’s basketball team has also been credited with making the ‘high five’ a social phenomenon. At basketball practice during the 1978-79 season, forward Wiley Brown went to give a low five to teammate Derek Smith when Smith looked at Brown and said, “No. Up high.” Midway through the second half of the championship game against UCLA, Brown overpowered his opponent, banked in the shot and drew the foul. Brown immediately raises his arm to slap Smith a high five and BOOM! A tradition was born.  Six seasons later, Crum lead the program to a second national title against Duke University (72-69).

In 1985, Howard Schnellenberger was hired as the head coach of the football team.  He inherited a struggling program that hadn’t had a winning season since 1978. The team was playing in a washed up baseball stadium and was forced to give away tickets for the lack of interest in the program. Rogers recalls “Schnellenberger showed people that the school could dream big in football too”, when at the time, the football team was just a shadow to the prominent men’s basketball program.  At his opening press conference, he shocked reporters and the city when he said the University of Louisville “is on a collision course with the national championship. The only variable is time.”  Today, somewhere, Schnellenberger is enjoying a tobacco pipe with a fat grin painted across his face. In 1991, Schnellenberger lead the Cardinals to Fiesta Bowl and dominated the SEC powerhouse, Alabama Crimson Tide, 34-7. Today, the football team enjoys the foundation and resources of the Howard Schnellenberger Complex and exits the building every home game surrounded by fake fog and 55,000 screaming fans.

When he began his career, the Cardinals football team was playing at Old Cardinal Stadium.  Hard to believe that the team now playing regularly in front of 55,000 fans, once played in a facility that housed as many as 7 different teams. But he notes that there was a certain ‘charm’ to Old Cardinal, located in the Kentucky Exposition Center. “The noise would bounce off the roof and the press box would literally bounce up and down.  When the team moved to Papa Johns in 1998, it was a huge upgrade. It was the first time Louisville had a place they could call their own.  It was on campus.  I remember the first Kentucky game.  Even though Louisville ended up getting beat by a big (margin).  It was 68-34” Rogers says.

Before we knew Tom Jurich to be the Athletic Director, Bill Olsen held the title.  He stepped down from the position in 1997 after the men’s basketball program had been cited for NCAA violations and 2 years of probation.  Jurich is another that Roger’s considers to be one of the most influential people in the University’s history and has helped propel Louisville to today’s ‘Year of the Cards’.  Jurich’s first move was to replace the head football coach, Ron Cooper, with John L. Smith and move the team to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (PJCS).

Rogers’ most memorable games he has called for the Cards include the in-state rivalry overtime game verses Kentucky in 2000, ‘The Rain Game’, where the Cards left Lexington victorious (40-34).  The 2002 overtime game verses Florida State (another rain game) where the Cards upset the nationally ranked Seminoles (#4) resulting in the crowd rushing the field and dismantling the goal posts.  The 2006 matchup between the undefeated Cards and the undefeated West Virginia Mountaineers, both ranked in the top five.  The Cards, again, walked away victorious (44-34).  In the same 2006 season, the Cards faced nationally ranked University of Miami at PJCS.  Miami seemed to have written their own destiny when the team chose to stomp on the Cardinal bird logo midfield.  Louisville said ‘not in our house’ and thrashed the Hurricanes 31-7 causing them to exit the top 25 for the first time since 1999. “It was the fact that they were big wins over good teams under really memorable circumstances,” Rogers recalls.

In 2010, Jurich took another leap of faith when he hired Louisville’s current head football coach, Charlie Strong from the University of Florida.  It was Strong’s first opportunity as a head coach at any program, yet Jurich believed in his potential. So much so that Jurich upgraded PJCS to include 13,000 more seats and a party deck that held 2,500 more. Rogers says “The new expansion to me, it’s almost a totally different place.  The upper deck makes it look so ‘big-time’”.  Paul says that the 2013 football team is the best one he has seen in his 40 year career.  “I don’t think we will play for a national championship but I think they’re one of the elite teams in the country.  Talent wise, depth wise, coaching, scheme, you name it.”

Rogers also says that men’s basketball head coach Rick Pitino is a major contributor to the program’s successes today, “I’m actually surprised they don’t already have a Rick’s Louisville sign raised.” In regards to the returning national champions basketball team Rogers says that “I think this year’s team could be every bit as good as last year’s team.  To win a championship you have to have a lot of things fall into place.  You can be really good and not win a championship.”

When I asked if he preferred to call basketball or football games more, Rogers says “I like whatever is in season.  I like variety.”

I asked if he had a vote for the ‘Year of the Cardinal’ Homecoming King who he would choose between the 2013 Final Four MVP and the Russdiculous we all know and love.  After a giggle, Rogers goes on to say “I think it’s really neat that the athletes have gotten involved in that.  I like the fact that they’re being involved in campus life.”

In regards to the Cardinals once again packing their bags and moving conferences, heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference, “Oh, I can’t wait. If I ever gave any thoughts about retirement, that’s going to keep me going for a while.”

After 40 years of devotion to the University and watching it grow as his own, Rogers says that he is so engrained in the program that he wouldn’t consider leaving as the Voice of the Cardinals. I believe that he, too, will one day have a banner raised on a downtown building that reads ‘Paul’s Louisville’.