Tom and Mark Jurich’s gifting goes beyond their donations

Tom and Mark Jurich were enormously successful in getting their fellow Louisvillians to share their collective vision for UofL athletics, attracting tens of millions of dollars for new and improved facilities, enabling the school’s team to compete at the highest levels and in state of the art facilities.

Mark Jurich announces the addition of Thornton’s as the major donor to the Academic Center for Excellence. He also was instrumental in getting Makers Mark as a early sponsor of the project. (CardGame photo).

But how much did Tom and Mark personally contribute out of their own money to the school? We now know, thanks to an open records request to the University of Louisville. First, however, a brief reminder of what they accomplished for the University.

Tom, who was fired in October, will be remembered as the athletic administrator who guided the University of Louisville out of the wilderness of college athletics and the makeshift conferences to a seat at the big table and membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Over nearly two decades, Jurich transformed Belknap Campus with new, expanded or greatly enhanced facilities in every sport, including basketball, football, baseball, soccer, track and field, softball and lacrosse.  UofL is competing seventh season in the KFC Yum! Center and nearing completion of a third expansion of Cardinal Stadium.

His son Mark Jurich, who was fired earlier this month, was a All-America baseball player at UofL. He joined the Athletic Department as an intern in 2004, advancing to senior associate athletic director for development and overseeing the Cardinal Athletic Fund. It was easy to see Mark being offered an athletic director position at a major school or succeeding his dad at UofL.

The younger Jurich oversaw numerous major fundraising efforts, including Lynn Stadium for soccer, the expansions of Cardinal Stadium and Jim Patterson Stadium, as well as the Thornton’s Academic Center of Excellence.

Now about those individual financial contributions:

According to the Open Records response, Tom officially contributed a total of $5,040 to the University during his time at the University. The total included $3,940 for athletics and a one-time gift of $1,000 to the UofL Foundation.

Tom’s contribution total to athletics included a $1,250 check in 2005 for the expansion of Jim Patterson Stadium, a $1,360 donation in 2010 for women’s field hockey, two checks for $500 and checks for $250 and $80 for the women’s golf team. He also wrote a check for $100 for a dance marathon benefiting UofL Medical School research.

Mark officially contributed a total of $5,500 to athletic department projects starting in 2009. Those contributions include $2,000 for Cardinal Stadium expansion, $1,500 for Jim Patterson Stadium expansion, and $1,900 for women’s field hockey.

Whether those contribution totals are commensurate with the money they were making from the school or soliciting for UofL is for someone else to decide. Some would argue that individuals are not expected to make financial contributions to their employers. Others would counter that they should have been giving more when they were so frequently asking for money from the community. 

Difficult to argue against either of those positions. What no one can seriously question, however, is how much better the University of Louisville is today because of their work and overall contribution to UofL athletics.

Enormous and far-ranging, forever raising the bar for those who will follow Tom and Mark Jurich at UofL.

One glorious day for Louisville basketball fans

Myisha Hines-Allen kisses the Cardinal logo at midcourt after her final home game (top photo). And another wild and crazy NIT crowd showed for the Louisville men’s victory over Middle Tennesee (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Darius Perry and Quentin Snider celebrate during Louisville’s win over Middle Tennessee (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A perfect day for University of Louisville basketball fans.

One of those magical days for UofL basketball, the KFC Yum! Center the center of the universe, the place to be on a Sunday in March.  Basketball all day long, thousands of fans emerging to celebrate, enjoying every last minute as the 2017-18 season nears an end.

The UofL women’s team dominating Marquette 90-72 before a crowd of 8,017 in the second round of the NCAA tournament in the afternoon. The men’s team  defeating a good Middle Tennessee State team 84-68 before 13,050 in the second round of the NIT later that night.

Ray Spalding gets some encouragement from UofL Coach David Padgett (Cindy Ride Shelton photo).

A day of winning for Cardinals’ fans, basking in the spotlight of national TV coverage, shedding the negativity, enjoying the positive, happy days are her again for UofL basketball. More of those resounding C-A-R-D-S cheers in one day than one an remember over the last three or four years.

That kind of day for the Louisville fans, wanting to show their Cardinals some love, wanting to catch up on the good times, and put some of the bad memories behind them if only for a day or so. A good day to be a Louisville fan.

Myisha Hines-Allen, a senior playing in her last game in Louisville, kissing the Cardinal logo on the floor after the game. That fabled turn-around jump shot of hers, rat-a-tat-tat, working to perfection, making 12 of 16 field goal attempts. 

“It was my last game here, and I wanted to go out with a win,” she said after the game. “I’m just so thankful to have made it this far, to have great teammates around me, to have wonderful fans come out to a game, know what they’re watching. They’re such great fans, and I consider everyone I’ve met over the last four years a part of my family.”

Jazmine Jones collects two of her 14 points against Marquette (Cindy Rice Sheton photo).

Louisville fans going to miss her eloquent post-game commentaries and  that shot she has perfected. Hines-Allen putting on a clinic, making it look so easy when it’s so hard for every shooter. Still another double-double, the 33rd of her career at UofL, with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Asia Durr finding her outside shot again, making three of six 3-point attempts, finishing 19 points and six assists. Sam Fuehring breaking loose for 19 points as well. Jazmine Jones adding 14 points.

Asia Durr making three of her six 3-point attempts and 19 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The men, propelled by another one of those joyous NIT crowds, radiating new levels of energy and determination. Also shooting with new levels of efficiency, hitting 53 percent of their field goal attempts.

Ryan McMahon invigorating the Cardinals in the first half, burying four of six 3-point attempts from behind the experimental 22-foot line. Igniting his team, making the crowd erupt, giving UofL some rare breathing room in the first half. 

Jordan Nwora enjoying 21 minutes of playing time, also zeroing from the behind the 3-point line making four of eight attempts and 17 points for the night. Ray Spalding making good on eight of 11 shots, earning team scoring honors with 18 points.

Anas Mahmoud with the slam dunk of his career, surprising even himself, shocking the crowd, making fans do double-takes, even after watching the replay on the video board. Some disbelievers still shaking their heads as they headed for home after the nightcap.

Many familiar faces at both games, downtown businesses benefitting from two UofL games in the same day. One big great reunion of Cardinal fans, celebrating Cardinal basketball all day long. Devoted fans, not easily discouraged by events of the past, giddy to be back on the winning side.

Kylee Shook ready early, UofL women cruise in NCAA opener

Sam Fuehring clearing a path to the basket for teammate Dana Evans. (Cindy Rice Shelton photos)

Asia Durr not making shots? Myisha Hines-Allen not hitting? Two conference players of the year playing tentatively, not getting off to good starts in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

The UofL women attracting a solid following as March Madness consumes the Ville again. (Cindy Rice Shelton photo)

Coach Jeff Walz will pull both of them quickly, letting them relax on the bench for a while. Kylee Shook and Dana Evans will see early action, along with Bionca Dunham. The University of Louisville women’s basketball team lives up to its  No. 1 seed in dismantling Boise State 74-42 at the KFC Yum! Center.

The game seemed to be tailor made for Shook. The 6-foot-4 sophomore would hit two 3-pointers within a minute, alternating between Jazmine Jones layups for a 19-8 lead before adding her own to make it 21-11.

Meanwhile, Sam Fuehring providing a intimidating presence on defense while cleaning up around the basket for another 14 points. Fuehring and Shook would pull down 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

All America Asia Durr attracting a crowd everywhere she goes during NCAA action (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Hines-Allen, never able to get going offensively, would wind up with only four points but still manage to get 14 rebounds. Arica Carter was passing out assists all afternoon, finding her teammates for seven baskets.

Asia Durr, unable to conceal her concern about her shooting touch from behind the 3-point line, still managing to get nine points. She was 0-4 on 3-point shots.

Durr attracts a lot of attention on and off the court. She needs to find her shot soon, return the favor to her teammates, if she and UofL are to make a serious run in the NCAA tournament.

Someone finally gets David Grissom to discuss aspirations for UofL


Click on photo to link to the KET interview between Billy Reed and J. David Grissom.

In a rare interview, J. David Grissom, chairman of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, spoke with sports analyst Billy Reed, a former local columnist and national sportswriter, for an hour, discussing Grissom’s role and aspirations for the school.  

Grissom, a former athlete and close follower of amateur and professional sports, may have helped to dispel the notion that he wants to diminish UofL athletics while taking the opportunity to emphasize a desire to see Louisville greatly enhance its  academic programs and reputation. 

With all the emotions tied to the school’s future, Grissom was never going to relieve the anxieties of many alumni members or fans, but it was a relief to finally hear him discussing some of the issues.

Grissom, who earned a law degree at UofL, said that despite the fact that faculty and staff salaries have remained stagnant for the past decade,  the passion and commitment of those same people to the University is extraordinary.  

“The old girl (the University) has taken a couple of body blows but there’s clearly a path toward restoring the reputation of the University of Louisville to the way it was in the past,” said Grissom. “It’s going to take a very strong leader, that person has to come from academia to understand the a big urban research university works, with all kinds of different priorities and constituencies.”

Grissom observed that schools like the University of Louisville are like big aircraft carriers . “They just keep on chugging, with a reservoir of good will and momentum on their own,” he said.

“The donor base fell off during the administrative problems but it’s already back to where it was, and the applications during the freshman class of next year are up 60 percent” he added.  “These places have wonderful resiliency and an ability to get their arms around themselves and solve their problems. This place (UofL) is on its way and it will get to a place where we are all proud to be graduates of this institution. 

“I’m a big believer and a big supporter, and she (UofL) is going to be just fine.”

Link to the entire interview

Update on Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium expansion

No more need to close one’s eyes to visualize how the addition is going to impact the physical structure. The foundation is there, ready for all the extra touches to be added. 

The concrete vertex is now complete at the top of the end zone addition at Cardinal Stadium, which means that installation of the new video scoreboards and between 5,000 and 6,000 new seats can’t be far behind.

Except for a few people huddled at the tip of the addition, most of the construction workers were leaving when the observer checked out the expansion progress on Wednesday.

From all indications, the project is on schedule, within budget, and will be ready for the home opener against Indiana State on Sept. 8th. Capacity is expected to be 61,000-plus.

The expanded stadium will be a motivating force for University of Louisville football players who are preparing for the opening of spring football camp on Tuesday, March 20. The spring football game is scheduled Saturday, April 14th at 1 p.m.

Link to the entire interview.