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Author Archive: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

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Emmonnie to forego basketball to pursue Olympics

July 29, 2015 0 Comments

Say it isn’t so, or wish her well.

Emmonie Henderson, the enforcer on the University of Louisville women’s basketball team, has decided to forego her junior year in basketball to pursue a qualifying spot on the U.S. Olympics track and field team.

Emmonnie Henderson eyes the Olympics.

Emmonnie Henderson eyes the Olympics.

So fun to watch her have her way on the basketball court, often providing the answer when rough and tumble was required beneath the basket. Never backing down, always in the thick of the action. Provoking an instant spurt of adrenaline, along with a healthy dose of intimidation, when she enters a game.

Emmonie has other plans for herself, however, like possibly winning a medal or two in shot put and discus competition.

“I wanted to take the year off from basketball, with hopes of returning, to focus on making it to the Olympics,” Henderson said. “It’s been a goal of mine, and I know I couldn’t do it without the help of coach (Dale) Cowper and coach (Jeff) Walz, so I’m very grateful to them.”

Currently, Henderson ranks 12th in the United States in the discus and 23rd in the shot put. Since her time in high school, she has increased her shot put by more than five feet and her discus mark by nearly 25 feet.

“Emmonnie expressed her goal of qualifying for a spot to compete in the 2016 Olympics,” said Walz. “I truly believe this is the best move for her. We always tell our student-athletes that we want to look out for their best interests, and I think the best opportunity for her to make it to Rio to focus solely on track and field this school year.”

With women’s basketball, Henderson has played in 68 games in two seasons and averaged 5.6 points and 3.6 rebounds, along with 25 blocks and 34 steals in that span.

Go for it, Emmonnie. Come back to basketball for the 2016-17. There’s always room for an enforcer.

Yes to football series with Western Kentucky, but basketball could have waited

July 28, 2015 15 Comments

Jeff Brohm is lobbying hard for a home-and-home series between Western Kentucky University and  University of Louisville. Bobby Petrino seems to be receptive.

Brohm,, the former University of Louisville quarterback now football coach at WKU, wants to bring his team to Louisville where his family has prospered in the sport over two decades. There would be a return game in Bowling Green and, possibly, a third game at a neutral site in Nashville.wku_full_2

Really interesting that a school in a small town in southern Kentucky is attempting to compete at the highest level in football. Says something about the leadership at the school and the community.

Petrino, in his second season at UofL, wants to reward the Bowling Green school for giving him a second chance following the problems that led to his dismissal at the University of Arkansas.

A continuing series would elevate WKU football in the state, bringing the Hilltoppers more exposure than games against opponents like Vanderbilt, Indiana and Rice this upcoming season. Unlike some other state schools, WKU would bring plenty of fans to Louisville, as they during the days at the old Fairgrounds Stadium.

The games would be competitive as long as Jeff Brohm is at the helm, and would provide some easy road trips for UofL fans whether they be at Bowling Green or Nashville. Certainly more attractive than out-of-conference games against Samford or Florida International.

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Rick Pitino would probably be having lots of second thoughts about renewing the basketball series, especially after the Donnybrook at Bowling Green last season. WKU Coach Ray Harper had his troops playing angry, employing a bruiser style, deliberately antagonizing UofL players, causing Montrezl Harrell to be ejected.

There really was no need for the hostility.

The basketball series can wait for a few years, with the only incentive for UofL being to break the 139-139 all-time series between the two programs.

Update: Apparently WKU is already penciled in on the 2015-16 schedule, according to Jeff Greer. Go figure.

Pitino coaching against UofL in Puerto Rico

July 27, 2015 0 Comments

The University of Louisville basketball team will play at least nine games in Puerto Rico starting Aug. 11th, but Rick Pitino will be coaching the Puerto Rico teams against the Cardinals.

The schedule was leaked Monday by Terry Meiners, of WHAS TV and Radio, on his Facebook page:

Aug 11 – 5:30 pm UofL vs Puerto Rico Junior Team; 8 pm UofL vs PR National Team (Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan)
Aug 12 – repeat Aug 11 schedule (Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum)
Aug 13 – 8 pm UofL vs PR Junior Team (Mario Morales Coliseum in Guaynabo, PR)
Aug 14 – 8 pm UofL vs PR National Team (Municipal Coliseum, Manati Ave, Manati, PR)
Aug 15 – 5:30 pm UofL vs PR Junior Team; 8 pm UofL vs PR National Team (Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, PR)
Aug 16 – 8 pm UofL vs Puerto Rico National Team (Humacao Coliseum)

UofL beat writer Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal indicated that “Pitino will coach the Puerto Ricans, as he is in two international events this summer, while his U of L staffers direct the Cardinals.”

The ultimate conflict for Pitino, coaching against his own team, during a crucial extra period of development time for a young, newly-blended team. Who comes first for Pitino? The Cards or the Puerto Ricans?

Good thing Ralph Willard, who rejoins the team this year as Pitino’s right hand man, will be involved in this confusing arrangement. Pitino once said Willard is there to critique his coaching. He may have his hands full.

No word on broadcast access yet.

Keion Wakefield picks Louisville over Kentucky

July 23, 2015 1 Comment

The University of Louisville football program wins another hat-picking contest Thursday, with Keion Wakefield, a talented wide receiver from Male High School, picking the Cardinals.

Wakefield briefly picked up a University of Kentucky hat, giving Wildcat fans a fleeting thrill, before placing it aside and donning the UofL hat.  He chose the Cardinals even though his brother Keron plays at the Lexington school.

A 5-foot-9, 165-pounder, Wakefield helped Male High to an 11-1 record last season and had 40 catches for 670 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s obviously serious about playing college football at the higher level.

DeVonte Fields poised for second chance at Louisville

July 23, 2015 0 Comments

Good news on the defensive front for University of Louisville, with reports that DeVonte Fields has met academic requirements, will report to campus Aug. 4, and can play during the 2015 season.

DeVonte Fields

DeVonte Fields

Fields was named the Big 12 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press as a freshman in 2012 after leading TCU with 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Fields played just three games in 2013 because of injuries, and spent the 2014 season at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.

Not so good: Fields was dismissed from TCU after being charged with domestic abuse charges, allegedly punching his girlfriend in the face, a Class A misdemeanor. The case was dismissed this year, and Fields agreed to take four anger management classes. Prior to the beginning of TCU’s 2013 season, Fields was suspended for the first two games of the season for a violation of team rules.

In January 2014, Fields reported that he was attacked and robbed by three individuals at an off-campus residence. He reportedly grabbed the arm of one of the gun-wielding assailants and five shots were fired. Fields escaped without major injury, and no charges were filed.

Up to now, trouble has seemed to follow DeVonte Fields around. If he’s ready to put the past behind him, Fields is the perfect candidate for some tough love from Bobby Petrino.

With so much focus on other issues, don’t be surprised if Fields is in need of a lot of conditioning before he returns to action.

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