September 4, 2001

Editorial: Victory brought more than just boasting rights

By The Editorial Board

While most people believe that the Cardinal’s third consecutive win over the Wildcats proved once and for all who has the state’s best football program there was something else that appeared to be decided on this past Saturday.

As head coach John L. Smith was being escorted into the locker room after the game there was a group of fans in the stands shouting his name in a repeated mantra. “John L., John L., John L.” The praise was to be expected. After all the Cardinal coach had won his third consecutive game over the instate rival. He had turned around a program that had been in the gutter, he had taken his team to three consecutive bowl games, and he had brought the Cardinals back to the brink of the Top-25.

What was not expected was that the cheering fans were all wearing Kentucky t-shirts.

It is a sign of a great coach when he earns not only the respect of the rival schools fans, but when he also earns their vocal adulation on their home field.

Fans of the University of Kentucky now look at John L. Smith with a longing that they could only dream of having such a coach for their team. Between basketball and football they now suffer from an extreme case of “Leader Envy.”

Now, not only do they wish they had the basketball coach that got away, but they also fantasize about the coach they never will have. Fans of the University of Louisville should look at their rivals for the example they have set in the praise of the Cardinal coach and fill Papa John’s Stadium for every home game. Or else it may be us who are looking in longing for the coach that got away.

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