Tom Jurich couldn’t be there, he’s attending the ACC Kickoff gathering in Greensboro, N.C. But the latest Maker’s Mark label was unveiled in his honor Tuesday on the University of Louisville campus.
Not surprising that Jurich would be at an ACC meeting, having engineered UofL entry into that prestigious conference. Nor that he would not be on hand for the unveiling of a special product honoring him for everything his athletic program has accomplished since 1997.
As Rick Pitino said during the press conference, “Tom once told me, ‘It’s all about the University, it’s not about me.’”
The label is the fourth in a series designed to help raise fund for the UofL Academic of Excellence, a $14 million center that will be built adjacent to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The Maker’s Mark bottles have generated $2.8 million toward the project.
Mark Jurich, who is in charge of fundraising for the academic facility project, said the University has raised a total of $8.2 million for the building and expects to reach the $14 million goal by the end of the year, presumably breaking ground in 2015.
The bottles. 8,500 of them, have a suggested retail price of $50 each, according to Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels, and will go on sale at local retail outlets this Friday.
A signing event will be held August 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center where 700 bottles will be signed. Tickets for the signing event will go on sale for $1 each on July 30, starting at 10 a.m. at http://tinyurl.com/pshteqv.
Backup quarterback Kyle Bolin injured a knee during the off-season and could take a while to fully recover, according to a Courier-Journal report.
Bolin’s status comes as a surprise, made public by Coach Bobby Petrino during the Atlantic Coast Conference meetings in Greensboro, N.C. He’s already had surgery, according to the coach, and his workouts have been limited this summer, meaning Bolin will have to work himself back into playing condition.
Petrino has indicated Will Gardner will be the likely starter so the battle for backup will intensify when fall practice begins during the first week of August.
The UofL roster lists five other quarterbacks. They include Reggie Bonnafon, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound freshman from Trinity, Brett Nelson, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound redshirt junior transfer from Southwestern Community College in California, Ethan Horton, a 6-foot, 205-pound redshirt freshman from Leslie County, Ky., Pat Thomas, a 6-foot-1, 201-pound junior transfer from Georgia Military, and Reggie Green, a 6-foot-1, 201-pound junior transfer, also from Georgia Military.
While Bonnafon would be the popular choice because of his local ties, Petrino isn’t about to declare anything just yet, saying that he hopes the Trinity product “competes for the job.”
Took a couple of days but the Shoni show finally got to Youtube.
Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops won’t be attending the annual Governor’s Cup Luncheon in Louisville on Wednesday, indicating that he couldn’t spare a full day away from his fledgling program.
Whatever the reason, his reluctance to participate puts Stoops in a bad light, with little regard for the UofL vs. UK rivalry or the organizers of the annual event. Poor manners, bad etiquette, boorish behavior casting a shadow over what has been a fun event since the football rivalry was renewed in 1994.
The Governor’s Cup Luncheon has traditionally a unique opportunity for UofL and UK partisans to get together in a casual setting, play some golf, break bread together and trade a few jabs in a setting which, if not always friendly, was less than the hostile atmosphere in which usually meet.
The primary benefit of the rivalry and the luncheon was promoting football in a state that has lagged behind the rest of the country, having to be dragged into the current century where football is the undisputed king of college sports. As an Ohio native and the football coach at a school like UK, Stoops should be among the first to promote the sport in Kentucky.
The actual game won’t be played until Nov. 29 and the event could have been rescheduled but that doesn’t excuse Stoops’ oafish behavior.
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Time for another Maker’s Mark special label. Details of the newest commemorative bottle will be announced Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Yum! Practice Center. Tom Jurich (via teleconference), men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino and men’s soccer coach Ken Lolla will participate. Proceeds going to the UofL Academic Center for Excellence to be built on the UofL campus.
Home grown talent is always the best possible situation, local players having extra incentive to win.
Ray Spalding ended the speculation Sunday, letting everybody know he has committed to pursue his college career at the University of Louisville.
He’s the second four-star basketball player from the community to commit to Hometown U in the past two years. Spalding a 6-foot-9, 200-pound center from Trinity High School, will join Quentin Snider from Ballard on the roster during the 2015-16 season. Snider will be a freshman during the upcoming season.
The best possible fit for a youngster who grew up cheering for the Louisville Cardinals, as he told the Courier-Journal on Sunday:
“It’s a blessing and a dream come true. For a humble kid like me coming from Louisville, to be able to say I could play at the university some day, it’s an honor.”
A couple of days earlier, he told the CJ:
“It’s pretty good being a hometown kid getting a hometown (scholarship) offer,” he said Thursday at the Adidas Invitational, where U of L coach Rick Pitino watched his game. “It’s been pretty crazy going from store to store (in Louisville), and (people say), ‘Oh, you’re Raymond Spalding?’ … But it’s been great.”
Spalding averaged 13.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks last season in leading Trinity to the semi-finals of the Kentucky High School Basketball Tournament.
Added motivation is a big deal at crunch time.
What a show it was, one for the record books.
Shoni Schimmel hasn’t even earned a starting spot on her own team yet, but Saturday she was the undisputed Most Valuable Player in the WNBA all-star game, leading the East to a 126-125 win over the West.
There Shoni was again, with that familiar behind-the-shoulder flip over 6-foot-8 Britney Griner in the fourth quarter. Making it look easy, following an earlier layup against the same player.
The former All-American at the University of Louisville, now a backup guard for the Atlanta Dream, now owns the all-star game record with 29 points, collecting 11 field goals, including seven of 16 three-point attempts. She also handed out eight assists, including two to Angel McCoughtry another former UofL star who had 13 points.
Twenty five of those points came in the second half, including nine in the third quarter, nine in the fourth, and seven more in overtime.
Seventeen members of her direct and extended family were in the crowd of 14,486 at Phoenix, as well as hundreds of other Native Americans, including many who followed Shoni to games during her years at UofL.
Any reservations (no pun intended) Atlanta Coach Michael Cooper, who also happened to be the East coach, may have had about inserting Shoni Schimmel into his own team’s starting lineup should have been dispelled after her latest performance.
Those of us enthralled with the unparalleled growth at the University of Louisville campus over the past decade never want James Ramsey to retire. The accomplishments during his UofL presidency have been extraordinary, and they just keep coming.
In the past academic year alone, the University has entered the Atlantic Coast Conference, completed the construction of a $37 million student recreation center, and successfully completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign, among other breakthroughs.
Since he took the post in 2002, UofL has boosted its graduation rate by more than 60 percent, admitted freshmen classes that are more academically gifted each year, recognized more Fulbright scholars than any other state school, and doubled the number of students living on campus.
On Friday, the UofL Foundation voted unanimously to increase Ramsey’s salary by four percent of his Foundation salary and two percent of his University salary. His annual salary as of June 30, 2014, was $624,000 and included $342,930 in university funds plus $281,070 from the privately-funded Foundation.
Hopefully he keeps some of that money for himself this time around. In the past, Ramsey has given nearly $1 million back to the university in the form of outright donations and by giving up bonuses and pay raises. If he were in the private sector heading a similar-sized corporation with such accomplishments, Ramsey would be making five or six times his annual salary at UofL.
Here’s an update from Dr. Ramsey on some recent milestones: