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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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Harry Cook gets a new tailgating destination

October 6, 2015 1 Comment
Harry Cook is the big guy at top right. His wife Candy is second from the left in the front row.

Harry Cook is the big guy at top right. His wife Candy is second from the left in the front row.

One important person will be missing when a group of longtime friends convene for their tailgating activities prior to the University of Louisville-Boston College football game on October 24.

Harry Cook, a gentle giant and staunch UofL football fan, died shortly after he and his wife Candy pulled into their driveway on Friday following a return trip from Orlando. His departure comes as a shock to all who know him, a quiet, unassuming guy who people liked immediately. He was 50, far too young to leave.

Harry Cook during earlier days.

Harry Cook during earlier days.

Harry was always among the first to arrive for tailgating at parking spot 878 in Row V in the Green Lot on game days. He and Candy were also the last to leave Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium because Harry would never leave before a game was over. Candy would say Harry was her “heater,” wrapping his arms around her, keeping her warm during those freezing late season games.

“His kind heart and big smile would warm us all on a cold fall day,” said Paula Derringer, who along with her husband David, are members of the group. “He will be greatly missed by his tailgate friends.”

While the tailgating group has been together for several years, my wife Barbara and I are relatively new to the group, acquiring a new parking spot next to theirs two years ago. Shortly afterward, we were invited to join them. Harry and Candy were among the first people we met, along with David and Paula, Mark and Michelle Mitchell, and Tom and Lisa Cissell. They’re like old friends now.

Harry would always wind up in a certain spot, seemingly presiding over the tailgate. Always smiling, he was where he wanted to be, tailgating at UofL football games. He played football at North Hardin High School and was drawn to Louisville football as a youngster, keeping up with the players and their stats. He and Candy enjoyed going to away games as well.

“He loved his wife, family and friends dearly,” said Paula. “Candy was his soul mate and they did everything together.”

Members of his tailgating team are being requested to wear red and black to his visitation Tuesday and funeral on Wednesday.

Just another seedy sex scandal for Louisville basketball

October 5, 2015 0 Comments

Nothing like a sleazy sex scandal to tarnish a good name, create gossip, generate headlines across America and expose ignorance on every radio talk show in Louisville and throughout the state.

Andre McGee’s mistake was ever having anything to do with Katina Powell, a sick individual and known prostitute, who was using her three daughters, including a 15-year-old, in the business. The fact that he ever associated with her could reveal something Andre and it’s not positive.pantaloons

Bad judgement, McGee’s relationship with her reflecting badly on him, the University of Louisville and the basketball program.

She brags about using the daughters in the business. “They enjoy themselves, they meet new people. … For those who have a problem with it, kiss my ass.” she says in the vanity book.

For free, apparently.

As if anyone in his right mind would want to get close to her — a hooker with so little scruples or business sense that she would publish the names of her alleged clients. The worst kind of ratish behavior, betraying not her clients but her profession.

Judging from photos of Powell that are being circulated, the woman is not attractive. Bewildering that she could conceivably have had any allure for young athletes, especially with the following of UofL basketball players.

The gut feeling here is that this affair will wind up hurting her badly in the long run, especially if local law enforcement follows up on her admission of running a prostitution operation and using at least one underaged child. A little prison time would be the proper remedy.

There also could be lawsuits filed against her by individuals named in the book. Not that she’s or her publisher are going to make any money from a poorly-documented vanity book. The last place a serious writer wants his book to appear is in the e-book section of

And it’s doubtful whether she or the writer is going to earn anything for guest appearances on national TV shows. The story is just too seedy to merit prolonged attention by anyone other than UofL and the NCAA.

Getting involved with her in any way was unfortunate, inevitably bringing anyone who associated with Katina Powell down to her level.

Jackson rushes for 121 yards, Louisville disposes of NC State

October 3, 2015 0 Comments

When his receivers weren’t dropping passes in their hands, Lamar Jackson was throwing the ball everywhere else in the University of Louisville’s 20-13 win at North Carolina State.

Still with much to learn, the freshman quarterback could complete only 10 of 27 passing attempts. At one point, Jackson receiving a tongue-lashing from Bobby Petrino for hurrying a pass to the feet of a wide open receiver in the first half.

Petrino may want to consider a different motivational approach with Jackson, managing to connect on only two of 10 passes in the second half. The most positive aspect of his passing game was that didn’t throw any interceptions.

Jackson would more than make up for his passing deficiences, however, running for 121 yards. That 68-yard run for a touchdown in the first half set the tone, serving notice to NC State that UofL was not your average 1-3 team. He raised his total rushing yards to 416 yards for season, setting an all-time record for UofL quarterbacks. He’s third on the all-time quarterback rushing list with five touchdowns.

*    *    *

So many candidates for the highlight of the game with lots of crucial plays.

— If NC State’s Jumichael Ramos had scored on that 48-yard pass play early in the first quarter, this game was off to a near-disastrous start. But Tremaine Washington, who rode Ramos’ back for a good 10 yards, wasn’t giving up, forcing a fumble on the four-yard line.

— Reggie Bonnafon directing a six-minute drive late in the game, bursting through the middle for 12 yards and a crucial first down in a third-and-nine situation.

— James Burgess putting the hurt on Michael Deyes on that fourth-and-one play, sealing the victory. Visions of a last second nightmare looming until that stop.

— Lamar Jackson breaking down the NC State defense for that 68-yard touchdown against a rugged defense that had been prepping for him all week. When he tweaks his passing game, gets his entire act together, Jackson is going to be a challenge for any opposing team.

”I had to do whatever to get my team to win,” he said after the game. ”That’s all I’ve been doing.”

True or false, allegations embarrass UofL

October 2, 2015 1 Comment

Shocking, the allegations that Andre McGee was compensating escorts/prostitutes to have sex with basketball recruits being pursued by the University of Louisville.

Dumb, if true. Unbelievably stupid. Hard to fathom.

The allegations, whether factual or not, are a collective slap in the face of UofL fans. Wet dreams for many University of Kentucky fans.

A female named Katina Powell claims she and her daughters entertained and performed for UofL recruits at the request of McGee between 2010 and 2014. If Powell, who is 43, was having sex with teenagers, or arranging for her daughters to have sex with under-aged youth, she could be in trouble, having documented the evidence against her in a book to be released this weekend.

The primary concern, however, is the embarrassing nature of the allegations against a program that has been squeaky clean for so many years. Contrary to everything that Tom Jurich demands and expects from his athletic department and respective coaching staffs.

The Louisville AD said during a press conference Thursday that he would be shocked if Andre McGee was involved in such a situation. He also said Rick Pitino would never condone such behavior.

Andre McGee denied the allegations when contacted by Pitino. The UofL coach, who said he was heartbroken by the allegations, has been unable to confirm whether such activity occurred. “I find it hard to believe that nobody in our program was aware if something like this was going on,” he said.

The investigation is in the hands of Chuck Smrt, a former member of the NCAA enforcement staff for 17 years, who has a free rein and complete access. Jurich will await a final report from Smrt before deciding on a course of action.

Too early to draw any conclusions, one way or the other. But unfortunately, it’s going to get much uglier before it gets any better.

UofL, NC State watching Hurricane Joaquin

October 1, 2015 0 Comments

A soggy field appears almost certain for Saturday’s football game between the University of Louisville and North Carolina State. Rain has been falling all week and is expected to continue during the game.

Hurricane Joaquin could have a significant impact one way or another, the wind affecting the kicking game, the rainfall or drizzle making things difficult for receivers and a muddy field slowing down the running game.

Weather Channel art

Weather Channel art

Or the storm could turn and hit landfall farther north.

Back in 2011, my wife and I were on a cruise to Bermuda when Hurricane Irene formed in the Atlantic. All week long we kept hearing reports about how the storm was on a direct path to New York City, which was where we were to disembark. Lots of concerned looks and scary discussions during the trip. The cruise line cut the Bermuda trip short by a day, hoping to beat the storm back to port.

Problem was that the ship arrived early, getting there the very night Hurricane Irene was expected to hit Manhattan. From our balcony, we had a perfect view of a deserted downtown New York City where 10 feet of water had been projected. All mass transit was halted, all the streets closed. Nothing was moving in the world’s largest city.

There we were stuck on the ship, they were letting no one off. We were at the storm’s mercy. We went to bed that night not knowing what to expect, sending up a few prayers, expecting to see the cars in a nearby parking lot under water. We woke up the next morning to silence and nothing but a light mist. The storm had taken a different path, almost completely bypassing the city.

These storms are unpredictable, really no way of knowing how the game will be affected. If, in the worst case scenario, the game were to be canceled, there is almost no way it could be rescheduled. UofL and NC State have no common open dates and the ACC championship game is scheduled a week after the regular season ends.

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