UK grad leads UofL legal team in settlement with Pitino

No one thought it would end like this, the long-time relationship between Rick Pitino and the University of Louisville. The sides agreeing to settle a two-year-old lawsuit brought against the school by the former head basketball coach.

Barbara Edelman, who earned her law degree at the UK College of Law, led the University of Louisville legal team in negotiations with Rick Pitino.

Ironically there was a University of Kentucky connection involved in the case, with UofL’s legal team led by Barbara Edelman. She’s a graduate of the UK College of Law and a partner at the Lexington office of the Dinsmore & Shohl law firm.

The terms were agreed to after an intense nine hours of negotiations in a Louisville court room last week.

Over the course of her career, Edelman has appeared in all of the federal district courts in, numerous circuit courts throughout the state and other jurisdictions. She has tried more than 50 jury trials in state and federal courts and handled more than 30 appeals to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, Kentucky Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Steve Pence, Pitino’s attorney, also happens to be a graduate of the UK College of Law. He was served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

A collective sigh of relief coming from many Louisville fans, thankful that Pitino has ended his pursuit of approximately $40 million in contractual obligations. The former coach was never going to get the full amount but millions seemed almost certain.

Pitino decided, however, not to pursue any further action against the school. The best decision he could have made, both for his own reputation and for the sake of the university. Neither party would have benefitted from the inevitable rehashing of UofL controversies in the local and national media.

One would like to believe that Pitino gave up the lawsuit because of all the good times he enjoyed at UofL, all the people who supported him through the good and the bad. He had considerable accomplishments at the school, compiling a 559-416 won-lost record, coaching Louisville to three Final Fours and a national championship.

But there were all those down times as well, including the sex and extortion scandal involving Karen Sypher, the stripper parties with Katina Powell and her flock, and the accusations from the FBI about alleged Adidas involvement in the recruiting process. Pitino may enjoy being the center of attention but no way did he want to rehash all those times day after day in a local courtroom.

Barbara Edelman’s legal team also included Gramn Morgan, a UofL undergrad who earned his law degree in California, and Donna Perry, who heads the Louisville office of Dinsmore & Shohl and earned her degree from the UofL Brandeis School of Law.

That legal team may have saved the UofL tens of millions of dollars while sparing UofL fans another barrage of ugly reminders of Pitino’s darkest days in Louisville.

Louisville off to fast start against Western Kentucky

Official attendance was 22,665 for the Louisville-Western Kentucky game in Nashville (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

So much for a neutral site location for the resumption of the University of Louisville-Western Kentucky football series. Not the best atmosphere for a game with 22,665 fans rattling around in Nissan Stadium. Suspense over early with UofL taking a commanding lead in the first half, then sleepwalking in the second half to a 38-21 conclusion.

One suspects the series– with UofL hosting the game next season, and WKU the following year — was a result of Louisville hiring Bobby Petrino away from the Bowling Green school a few years ago. The question is who was really doing who a favor. Neither fan base apparently that interested in going to Nashville.

Tutu Atwell scoring the first of his three touchdowns, including distances of 9, 46 and 62 yards (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Louisville getting off to an impressive start, with quarterback Malik Cunningham connecting with Tutu Atwell on nine and 46 yards for the first two touchdowns. Followed by a 20-yard touchdown by Javian Hawkins and a 30-yard sprint by Rodjay Burns after a fumble recovery. Up 31-7 at the half.

Lamar Jackson jerseys are a popular choice among Louisville fans (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Maybe taking WKU for granted as third quarter begins, giving the Hilltoppers false hopes, letting them hang around.  Not respecting the opponent, blowing a chance to get better, which was needed with the first ACC game a week away.

There was, however, one play that buoyed the outlook for UofL football down the road. That being, of course, that 62-yard pass play from freshman Evan Conley to Atwell, his first pass ever as a Louisville quarterback. Such a beautiful spiral, the likes of which UofL has not seen for a few years.

Malik Cunningham winning his first game as a starting quarterback at UofL (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A surprise appearance by Conley following an injury to Malik Cunningham in the third quarter. The freshman showing exceptional confidence and accuracy, completing two of three attempts for 86 yards. Cunningham, meanwhile, good for eight of 13 for 119 yards.

Three games in, Louisville football looking much improved over last season. The ultimate testing begins next week with opening of conference play against Florida State. No danger of UofL players not respecting the Seminoles. Ever.

Win No. 1 for Satterfield, and not your granddad’s UofL fans

Marshon Ford, a redshirt freshman from Ballard, scores his first of two UofL touchdowns on a five-yard pass from Jason Pass(Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Good times coming.

Every game a measuring stick for the University of Louisville football program, even against a third-year rebuilding program like Eastern Kentucky University. No shortcuts in reconstructing a program, but UofL showed undeniable promise in crushing EKU 42-0.

A crowd of 48,808 fans showing up for a game against Eastern Kentucky (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The win possibly indicating that the road back to respectability may not be quite as difficult as originally anticipated. At least it seemed that way to the many of the optimistic UofL fans in the crowd of 48,808 at Cardinal Stadium on Saturday. The turnout almost as impressive as the margin of victory.

Not the old days for Cardinal fans when five or six straight UofL losses would have been punished with a half-empty stadium. The Louisville faithful obviously seeing something they liked in the loss to Notre Dame, expecting the Cardinals to be ready to handle a lower-tier opponent. Ready for a win and they would not be disappointed.

Jawon Pass needing a game with an FCS opponent to gain some confidence. Getting off to a confusing start, quickly throwing two touchdown passes in the first quarter. But struggling the rest of the first half, including an interception . He would, however, make up for slow start in the third quarter, with two more touchdown passes. He would complete 12 of 19 for the game.

Hassan Hall back in the end zone in the third quarter, giving UofL a 35-0 lead (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

If Pass needed any more motivation, all he needed to see was Malik Cunningham competing his first pass for 35 yards in the third quarter and running for 28-yard touchdown on his fourth play from scrimmage. Clearly still substantial competition for that starting quarterback spot.

Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall taking up the slack between touchdown passes with 129 and 68 rushing yards, respectively. Seemingly contradictory but Louisville has an exceptional running game between all the touchdown passes.

And how about that UofL defense, giving up only 130 yards rushing and 42 yards through the air. Louisville hasn’t had a defense that motivated since the Charlie Strong days four years ago. Virtually the same defensive people from last season’s team but demonstrating how vital good coaching is to rebuilding a successful program.

Much more to do, but there’s nothing better than a win in the short term. Win No. 1 in the first of many for Scott Satterfield.

Louisville football is suddenly fun again

The Unversity of Louisville football team gave fans reasons to be optimistic about the future direction of the program (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

One of the biggest games in University of Louisville football history, with a new coach and a new attitude, accompanied by Notre Dame’s first ever visit to Louisville.

Lots of questions, mucho suspense, with Coach Scott Satterfield on the sidelines for the first time. Would the program begin the road back to respectability or linger in the wasteland created by the former mentor. A 35-17 loss to the Irish would certainly make one wonder.

Quarterback Jawon Pass celebrates with teammates after scoring his second touchdown, giving UofL a brief lead over the nation’s ninth-ranked team (Cindy Rice Sullivan phot).

The Observer is thrilled to report that Louisville is back on the right track again and few people in the record crowd of 58,187 would disagree, including the approximately 7,000 Notre Dame fans. The Cardinals arrived ready to rumble, maintaining their intensity during adversity, competing until the final whistle.

A red sea of humanity for the first Card March of the 2019 season.

As did the vast majority of UofL fans, hanging around long after the game had been decided. Basketball may be the dominant sport but football will always be the fun sport. The fans emerging from the shadows after a season from Hell, desperate for new signs of life from their favorite team.

No Louisville fan will ever be happy with a loss and this was no exception. UofL would in the game until the final seconds of the first half, until quarterback Jawon Pass would fumble on three consecutive plays. Should have been a 14-14 tie at the half, but those miscues opened the door for Notre Dame’s seven-point lead at the half.

Except for that disastrous series of plays, UofL looked like a team primed for a possible upset. The kind of win that speeds up the rejuvenation process, sending a charge through the fan base. Not to be. But plenty about which to be optimistic, with Louisville actually outgaining an opponent on the ground (249 to 230) for the first time since the Lamar Jackson era.

Serious questions remain about UofL’s passing game, with Pass completing only 12 of 28 passes for 134 yards. That has got to get better. But Pass was improved in other phases of his game, scoring two touchdowns on runs of eight and 17 yards. Nice to have some contributions from running backs from the running backs, with Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall gaining 128 yards and 72 yards, respectively.

Scott Satterfield said afterwards that the team is going to keep improving, getting much better, and is ready to compete. Any UofL fan who saw the improvement from last season to now would have to agree. Louisville football has a future again.

Louisville football always a good excuse for a party

Forgive me for being ecstatic but another September has arrived. Another academic year at the University of Louisville, nine months of athletic competition … college football, basketball, baseball and soccer, et al. Making up for lost times over another long summer.

Kicking things off with a reunion of fellow UofL fans at Cardinal Stadium. The partying season on again, tens of thousands of fans converging in the parking lots, in the VIP suites and at the Cardinal Cabooses. Tailgating is back. Good friends, enjoying great food and beverages, many catching up with each other for the first time since the end of last season.

Vince Tyra hooks up with tailgaters at Harry’s Hangout in the former Green Lot. From left are Michelle Mitchell, Barbara Springer, Paula Derringer, Ginny Staley and Candy Cook.

Over at Harry’s Hangout in the newly-named Purple Lot (formerly the Green Lot), David Derringer and friends are erecting the canopies, lighting the grill, turning up the speakers, and preparing for another major feast and endless toasts and poppers. They’ve been getting together for more than a decade now, doing what they enjoy the most. Hell, it’s UofL and it’s UofL football, the place to be.

Louisville fans like to party, nobody has ever questioned that. But they are especially enthusiastic about celebrating at UofL events. It’s UofL against the world, as far as they are concerned, having gone through so much hell together the last three or four years. But it’s so much more than that, knowing how far the University has come over the decades despite many obstacles.

Progress has been driven by a number of UofL leaders over the years. Not the least of which was Howard Schnellenberger who dared dream of a national title in football. Former athletic director Bill Olsen introduced the notion of tailgating at the Fairgrounds, hired Schnellenberger, and built a football stadium on Belknap Campus Olsen’s successor, Tom Jurich, adding many more facilities, getting the University of Louisville in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Thanks to Jurich’s efforts, the University of Louisville opens the 2019 season with a bigger than life opening game against Notre Dame. A concept that would have been considered inconceivable a decade ago. UofL standing shoulder to shoulder with one of the richest traditions in college football. No matter the game turns out, it is an historic occasion for UofL fans.

Vince Tyra taking a business and fan-friendly approach, bringing ambitions of his own for UofL athletics, starting with the return-to-red seats. He has hired a young new coach in Scott Satterfield, trusting he will return Louisville football to national respect all over again.

Nobody from UofL is expecting a win against the Irish although many fans may be quietly hoping for some sort of miracle. It is a time for celebration because the hopes of Louisville partisans have been realized. They dared dream of days like these, like they did for their own stadium and wins in the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl. They dared to dream and, unbelievably in some cases, many of the dreams came true. Don’t tell a UofL fan something can’t happen because it does, more often than not.

Still a way to go for Louisville football. Well, actually some lost ground to make up after last season, but UofL fans are a hardy lot. Nothing has ever come easy for them. Much of the fun is in the journey, and it could be argued that the program is starting all over again.

That’s okay. UofL fans have been there, done that, and they’re ready to do it all over again. No matter how long it takes.