Senior wide-out DeVante Parker ran away with the competition his first three years at U of L. The outstanding senior talent has 16 career touchdowns and is one of many exciting students bringing their potential to the ACC, courtesy of The University of Louisville.
By Dalton Ray
“Isn’t it a great time to be a University of Louisville Cardinal?”
University of Louisville president James Ramsey enthusiastically asked this question upon Louisville’s official inauguration to the ACC. July 1 marked the first day U of L was an official member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. At the Brown and Williamson Club inside of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, a commemorative luncheon was held to make it official. Passionate fans, university associates, members of the media and even the ACC mascots witnessed this historical day as ACC Commissioner John Swofford welcomed the Cards into the now 15 school conference.
“We have looked forward to this day since November of 2012, when our Council of Presidents voted to accept Louisville as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference,” Swofford said. “We are a stronger conference with the addition of this university and its athletic program, which continues to reach new heights and rank among the nation’s most competitive. We are well-positioned for the future, 15 members strong with a unique balance of public and private institutions.”
President Ramsey, Commissioner Swofford, and U of L Athletic Director Tom Jurich held a press conference in the morning before heading over to the celebratory induction.
At the luncheon a large enthusiastic crowd gathered where food was provided as everyone sat eagerly awaiting the inauguration. After dining, socializing and getting more acquainted with the ACC mascots the crowd was addressed.
Ramsey, Swofford and Jurich reverberated the positive progression the university has taken.
“Upward trajectory” was used multiple times during the press conference and it was used to describe the university’s rapid success and the ACC’s future. Commissioner Swofford praised the school’s recent national athletic and academic success and said it was one of the reasons why they pulled the trigger on bringing Louisville in. Another reason for praise was the family-like atmosphere of the university.
“This is a conservative effort here…everyone is supportive of each other and that’s what makes a great university and athletic program,” Swofford stated.
The man who made all of this happen is of course AD, Tom Jurich, who took over U of L’s athletics program in 1997. The latest conference jump is the Cards’ fourth since 1996. U of L was members of the Metro Conference from 1975-1996, Conference USA from 1996-2005, the Big East from 2005-2013, and were one-time members of the American Athletic Conference this previous 2013-14 year.
“I really do appreciate and want to thank all the guys from Conference USA, the Big East, and our home last year in the AAC who helped us grow. It wasn’t just us; it was the people we competed with and the universities who have pushed us up. I stand here very grateful and thankful that all of this came together,” Jurich humbly explained. “We’re all about being a family here, we have a great culture…with all 23 of our sports we want to roll up our sleeves and out work you.”
The immediate selling point of joining the ACC is the impressive athletic resume the conference blusters in each sport. The ACC won five national championships this past year alone.
The conference’s field hockey teams have won 17 of the 31 NCAA national championships. The ACC’s golf programs have won a total of ten NCAA national championships between the men’s four and the women’s six. And the 13 total NCAA national championships in men’s lacrosse are more than any other conference.
With the addition of Louisville the ACC will be considered a powerhouse conference in such major sports as basketball, football, baseball, and soccer.
In baseball the conference has won five national championships. It has appeared in 88 total College World Series and has been ranked a top three conference the past five years. Last year the ACC sent eight teams to the NCAA tournament with three advancing to the CWS.
In football the ACC has seven schools with national titles, five are among the top 25 winning-est programs of all-time. The ACC sent 11 teams to bowl games last year with two BCS victories, headlined by Florida State’s BCS National Championship.
The conference’s collection of men and women’s soccer teams is very impressive. The ACC claims 16 men’s NCAA national titles, including 13 between 1984-2009. ACC women’s soccer has dominated the field of play winning 24 of the 28 NCAA national championships.
Louisville joins Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse as recent additions to a conference that already boasted basketball greats. Now the ACC may be the best men’s basketball conference in the land. Three of the six previous NCAA national champions as North Carolina won in 2009, Duke in 2010 and Louisville in 2013. Four of the five active Hall of Fame head coaches including U of L’s Rick Pitino. Five of the top twelve winningest programs, 15 national championships, 16 national runner-ups and 59 total Final Four appearances.
Academically this is a huge jump up for the Cardinals. It is very easy to say all the positive things this move means for athletics but the opportunity to correlate work with some of the top academic schools in the nation is an unmatched opportunity.
U of L has made strides in its research over the past years and associating with top research schools like Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Boston College, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech will continue to help the Cards make successful and life changing developments in the medical field and every day life.
With well over a year of ACC buzz the University of Louisville is officially a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. And it couldn’t be a better time to be a University of Louisville Cardinal.