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.
How could Tom Jurich ever possibly outdo himself with all that he has already achieved during his tenure at the University of Louisville?
That’s not possible because Jurich knows no limitations. He’s the epitome of a visionary with mammoth dreams and makes the heretofore impossible become striking realities. Milestone after milestone for the program, the university and the community.
Another defining moment in UofL athletics on Friday, Jurich behind the podium announcing still another grandiose project, this time a 10,000 to 12,000-seat addition to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
As Jurich indicated, the expansion will be first class in every respect, having drawn from the best ideas in the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks’ stadiums. Add in field level luxury boxes, two new video boards, and two new massive Papa John’s signature columns, it’s going to be spectacular.
Jurich wants the expansion to be completed as quickly as possible, which means this is a top priority for him and for his staff. That includes his son, Senior Associate Athletic Director Mark Jurich who, no doubt, has identified his targets and is already blazing the fundraising trail.
The enthusiasm flowing the press conference was at such a high level that corporate sponsors may already lining up for this project. Don’t be surprised if the construction cranes are not vying for position this time next year.
This is golden era of University of Louisville sports. You’re not dreaming. This is actually happening.
The absolutely best part is that Tom and Mark Jurich will never be satisfied, always looking to build and improve University of Louisville sports. That’s just who they are and what they do.
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium expansion is a go.
Tom Jurich, vice president of athletics at the University of Louisville, revealed Thursday during the annual 50-Yard Line Dinner at PJCS that expansion will begin shortly after the conclusion of the 2015 football season.
The $55 million expansion will occur in the north end zone, with a three-tiered pyramid design and will feature field level suites, club facilties, and other amenities. It will be integrated with the Howard Schnellenberger Complex and is expected to include expanded weight-training facilities for the football team.
No mention was made at the dinner of the number of seats to be added. The rendering would suggest possibly an expanded capacity of between 7,000 and 10,000 seats.
Jurich and Coach Bobby Petrino will flesh out the details Friday in a news conference at 11 a.m.
Meanwhile over at Grawmeyer Hall, the administration building …
Larry Benz, a physical therapist and local business owner, has been nominated to be the new Chairman of the University of Louisville Trustees, succeeding Dr. Robert Hughes, a Murray physician.
Benz, who currently serves as Treasurer, was among the trustees supportive of an audit of the University of Louisville Foundation, suggesting at a May 14th meeting that the foundation has grown so complex — with more than $1 billion in assets and controls 10 corporations — that its processes and procedures should be examined.
Benz is the President/CEO of PT Development LLC, and a partner in Evidence In Motion, Texas Physical Therapy Specialists, ProRehab-PC, Fit For Work, and Breakthrough Physical Therapy.
He is likely to be confirmed as Chairman at the Sept. 3 meeting of the Trustees.
Golf course upgrades coming: The University has issued a request for bids for the refurbishing of Holes 13 and 14 at the UofL Golf Club in Simpsonville. The objective is to increase the aesthetic value of the course and improve the sight lines within the fairway by restoring a series of on-site wetlands and streams.
Hole 13 will include re-grading and enhancement of four existing wetlands to establish a deeper aquatic habitat bordered by shallow, vegetated wetland shelves. The wetland features will be separated by two boulder structures, each allowing water to flow from the east to west between the features.
Hole 14 will include the restoration and stabilization of a steep intermittent stream channel to include a series of boulder steps and pools.
From UofL Alumni Weekly: Are you a “people person” who wants to share your enthusiasm for UofL Athletics? Consider becoming part of the team by joining the Special Forces Volunteer Usher Program. Orientation and training sessions for volunteer ushers are currently available. For additional information contact Maggi Constantz at 502-852-2471 or email@example.com.
Pretty cool that Jerry Brumleve, an individual I got to know and respect as a friend and co-worker at Brown & Williamson a few years back, was the first big winner in the Cardinal Athletic Fund’s Year of the Fan promotion.
He and wife, Yvonne, won a trip to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Classic football game between the University of Louisville and Auburn on Sept. 5. The prize package includes two airplane tickets, a two-night stay at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel (the team hotel), and a bundle of UofL gear.
They also were honored with a neighborhood party Tuesday, with none other than Mark Jurich, associate athletic director, the Ladybirds dance team, and some Chick-fil-A employees pouring out of a bus in front of their house on Tuesday. The Brumleves invited several neighbors to join the party.
“We had a great time,” said Brumleve. “We were shocked that we won and happy to get together with UofL staff and fans and, of course, the Ladybirds. We’re very appreciative and supportive of UofL sports.”
The only wrinkle is that the Brumleves had already planned to drive to Atlanta with some close friends and wanted to honor that commitment. With UofL’s okay, they gave the free flight and game tickets to their daughter Melanie and their nephew Ben Horn. Jerry’s generosity only goes so far, however. He kept the UofL gear.
Brumleve was one of more than 3,000 people who have signed up for the CAF’s Year of the Fan campaign during the first week. UofL is rewarding fans for their loyalty and support over the years. It is also open to UofL fans who are not season ticket holders.
Fans who enter will be eligible for free tickets to different games, seat upgrades, parking upgrades, concession discounts and VIP access to other events, reports Megan Gormley, executive director of development. Already in the plans is another free trip with tickets and hotel accommodations for the ACC Tournament in March.
“The concept presents a great opportunity for us to thank our fans for their belief in our vision and for their unwavering support of Cardinal Athletics,” said Jurich. “They are small tokens of our deep gratitude for the loyalty of Card Nation.”
Second season in the Atlantic Coast Conference coming up.
No concern about whether the University of Louisville football team will be able to compete in a Power 5 conference. Not with Bobby Petrino on the sideline. The novelty has become an everyday reality.
A whole different feel to the beginning of the football season from a few years ago. No doubts about having a quality schedule, no worries about whether the Big XII conference wants to expand, no second thoughts about whether UofL will be in a position to compete for national honors.
Excuse me if every now and then I just want to raise my fist in the air and scream for joy.
Just a few years ago, the odds of UofL collecting an ACC invitation were very remote. The word was the ACC only wanted members located on the coast, that UofL’s academic standing was a deterrent. But the reality of what Louisville was accomplishing in the athletic and academic fields made the school an obvious choice.
Normalcy for UofL finally happened after decades of wishing and hoping, sometimes teetering on the edge of desperation for national acceptance and respect. Needing Maryland to withdraw from the ACC for UofL to finally get the conference invitation last year.
As Gorgui Dieng said his father often told him, “Nothing good comes easily.” All the years of hard work, conference politics, capital investment, and financial support, along with the dynamic efforts of Tom Jurich as athletic director, were absolutely required to make it happen.
For some the temptation may be to be satisfied, to bask in the glory of the new exalted status. That’s not how it works, however. There are more breakthroughs to be achieved. As someone once said, “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.”
That obviously has not been the case at UofL. Nor will it ever be under Jim Ramsey and Jurich’s leadership.