Bad Trip To Morgantown in 2005

Memories of the first Big East football game between Louisville and West Virginia two years ago:

— Minutes before getting into the car to drive to West Virginia, learning that the Holiday Inn in Clarksburg had been flooded. Knowing that it was a bad omen

–Catching a bus ride to the stadium with a group of U of L fans from a hotel in Fairmont. They hadn’t slept the night before because another bus had broken down.

— The disastrous onside kick off in the third quarter that went to West Virginia. Sinking feeling, knowing that momentum had unalterably turned.

— The sound of fire trucks, one after another and another, after the three-overtime loss.

— Arriving back at the the bus with beer-soaked shoes, courtesy of a couple of Mountaineer fans.

— Shock at learning the bus would go back to Louisville on a route that didn’t include our hotel 40 miles away. We were on our own.

Voters As Sheep?

Much manipulation went for naught as a proposed new library tax went down, leading some observers to conclude that they had outsmarted themselves. The margin of defeat exposed them as rank amateurs who believed the public could be steered like sheep to vote yes at the polls.

  • Anyone close to being a celebrity in Louisville was carted out for the campaign. TV spots from coaches and athletes. Letters to the Editor from business leaders and educators. You know, the kind of people you would never bump into at the local library branch. Maybe some actual library users would have been effective.
  • The three-part question on the actual ballot was obviously intended to delude individuals. The organizers clearly underestimated the intelligence of local voters.
  • For some strange reason, library supporters refused to appear on local talk shows to discuss the proposed funding. They didn’t want to appear giving the opponents any credibility? They lost some by refusing any debate.

Kept expecting the Courier-Journal to issue the results of a Bluegrass Poll with preliminary indications on how voters were leaning. The story never came, making one suspect that the editors and library supporters knew the proposal was in deep trouble from the beginning.

Stadium Expansion Wheels Are Turning

Vision. Imagination. Confidence.

These are unquestioned characteristics of members of the Papa John’s Stadium Expansion Committee, each successful in many separate endeavors. They want the University of Louisville athletic program to think big, exceed expectations. They are not dreamers, they are realists. When they decide to do something, they expect it to happen.

The committee includes many of the same folks behind the transformation occurring in downtown Louisville. Name it, and one or more individuals on this committee has been involved — the new U of L Basketball Arena, Museum Plaza, Fourth Street Live , all the new condominiums, offices and construction on Main Street, the new hotels, the Louisville Bats and Slugger Field. Too numerous to list all of them.

So it was significant when the committee voted unanimously in support of Tom Jurich’s recommendation to approve the stadium design, which will raise stadium seating capacity to 63,000. Now comes the next step, putting their personal and corporate clout and energies behind the project. They know you can’t be deterred by temporary setbacks, that you have to look beyond those, and do what is necessary to ensure that success is inevitable.

The project still needs the approval of U of L Athletic Committee and the U of L Board of Trustees, not to mention the go-ahead of the Kentucky General Assembly. It’s not a freight train yet, but the wheels are turning.

A salute to committee members: Larry Benz, Jonathan Blue, Mike Brown, Kevin Covan, Mike Curtain, Larry Hayes, Bob Koetter, Jr., Chris Sternberg, Jim Patterson II, Bruce Perkins, Steve Poe, Sam Rechter, Dan Ulmer and Will Wolford. They deserve the red carpet treatment when the expanded stadium becomes a reality in 2010.

Monday Morning Memos

To Lee Corso: Predict that West Virginia will win the football game. Please. (Nobody can remember the last time he correctly predicted a Louisville game.)

To fans going to theaters to see the game: Take your own candy and popcorn. Movie concessions are more expensive than Papa John’s. (There’s a Walgreen’s directly across from Stonybrook.)

To Steve Kragthorpe:
Game plan should include Bilal Powell early and often in the first half. (No late game cameos.)

To Charlie Stubbs: Get the plays into Brian Brohm faster. Send Bilal Powell in with the plays. (He’s a good ball carrier, too.)

To the U of L Band Director: Watch how the Mountaineer band responds to game situations, and how the crowd feeds off the band. (They don’t have a cheerleader doing a monologue before the game either.)

To the guy who plays the boogie videos: They don’t play boogie music at Morgantown when the home team is behind. Not in good taste. (You’ll never live that one down.)

Darius Ashley Watch

Darius Ashley continues to dazzle fans and opposing defenses in the Queen City. The Louisville football signee rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns Saturday evening in leading Cincinnati St. X to an easy 45-14 win over Cincinnati Elder in the first round of the Division One Ohio state high school playoffs — a convincing victory over a powerful rival.

Ashley has rushed for 1,014 yards and 12 touchdowns in seven games; he missed three games early on because of an ankle injury. He has had back-to-back 200-yard games, after rushing for 205 yards and a TD in last week’s 28-14 win over Cincinnati Moeller in the regular season finale. Cincinnati Enquirer