Top U of L Sports Stories in 2007

  1. Football Cards defeat Wake Forest 24-13 in U of L’s first Bowl College Series game and first appearance in the Orange Bowl, finishing the season with a 12-1 won-lost record, ranked sixth in the final Associated Press poll.
  2. Baseball Cards advance to the Final Four of the College World Series for the first time ever, rekindling a long lost love for the game of baseball for many local fans. U of L posted a 47-25 won-lost record while finishing among the top 10 in the major polls.
  3. Ground is broken for $450 million-plus downtown arena for U of L men’s and women’s basketball teams. Completion is expected in time for the 2010-2011 season.
  4. Football expansion committee approves design for 23,000-seat addition to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
  5. Bobby Petrino accepts head coaching position with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, after indicating for the fourth straight year that Louisville is where he wants to be.
  6. Quarterback Brian Brohm announces he will return to play his senior year of football at U of L, foregoing a certain first-round draft pick.
  7. Tulsa’s Steve Kragthorpe is hired as head football coach
  8. Jeff Walz is hired as Lady Cards basketball coach, succeeding Tom Collen who departs for Arkansas.
  9. Angel McCoughtry of the Lady Cards is the leading scorer as the United States captures the Gold Medal in the Pan American Games.
  10. Men’s track and field team finishes seventh in NCAA championship competition.
  11. Tom Jurich is named Athletic Director of the Year by Street & Smith Magazine.
  12. Michael Bush makes it official, will forego senior year for the NFL draft.
  13. David Padgett re-injures knee, putting basketball career in doubt.
  14. Juan Palacios incurs still another injury, to miss several basketball games.
  15. Basketball team steamrolls Stanford in first round of NCAA Tournament at Rupp Arena; loses squeaker to a Billy Gillispie-coached team in the second round.
  16. Women’s volleyball team loses to Middle Tennessee in the first round of NCAA Tournament for a second straight year.
  17. Wide receiver Harry Douglas plays his final football game at U of L, teaming up with Brian Brohm to spark a dramatic come-from-behind win over Rutgers.
  18. Samardo Samuels, one of America’s top high school prospects, commits to play basketball at U of L.
  19. Men’s soccer team advances to NCAA Tournament, defeating Duke before losing to Ohio State in Coach Ken Lolla’s first season.
  20. Women’s golf team finishes among top 10 in the NCAA Tournament.
  21. Men’s golf team finishes 27th in NCAA Tournament.
  22. Mario Urrutia declares he will skip his senior football season, hoping to beat the odds for an NFL career.

Look to David Padgett

Watching David Padgett walk on the basketball court in his black suit to the sideline is a difficult scene. He walks slowly, as if trying to mask the pain. Yet he’s among the first off the bench during timeouts, encouraging, clapping, slapping backs. No crutches for him. His personal rehab regime doesn’t allow for them.

Padgett is used to pain, having undergone five operations on his knees in the last three years. Even more painful, he says, is watching the games from the sidelines, his teammates struggling in his absence.

He has made it known to Rick Pitino and the doctors that he wants to return to action. Padgett is coming back, he will be playing with pain, and he will be putting a possible pro basketball future at risk. He wants to complete his senior year at the University of Louisville whether he ever plays basketball again.

Don’t know how effective David Padgett will be as a player when he returns but his example should inspire his teammates. Despite the wobbly start for this basketball team, there remains a great deal of unrealized potential and talent. Up to now, the play has been methodical, almost mechanical, almost as if just going through the motions.

Padgett is willing to risk everything for this team. Look to David, guys, if you need motivation.

Not So Fast with the Smoke Screen

What’s the hurry with the Louisville Metro Council holding special sessions to pass a new smoking ban ordinance? This would have been the perfect opportunity for Council members to examine the impact of a ban on local businesses.

Business is way down at most bars and taverns, an alarming number of them in danger of closing their doors. The reprieve by the court in striking down the old ordinance was probably the only thing that saved some of them.

Yet Councilman Kelly Downard says the ban has not driven anybody out of business. That may be true, Kelly, but it’s only a matter of time. You don’t hear about it from The Courier-Journal because reporting business failures would contradict the editorial page. The TV stations are either lazy or short staffed. Council members wouldn’t want to admit a mistake.

Downard displayed the worst qualities of a politician during the three-year debate on indoor smoking. Playing palsy with the bar owners on one hand and selling the businesses out on the other.

Why not use this time to measure the actual effects of the ban on businesses? The city’s profits are falling far short of expectations. Granted, the tax revenue from bars and taverns is not the only factor but the smoking ban is THE reason tax proceeds have slowed at local nightspots. Which is more logical? Allowing smoking and risking a minimal health effect or banning smoking and putting customers and employees out on the street?

One thing for sure is that all the smoking ban advocates who promised to go to bars if they went smoke free have not made good on their promises. No surprise there since they were fabricating so many “facts” in their rush to a ban.

More Ahead, Stay Tuned

Morehead State was a yawner, from beginning to end. Couldn’t have gained much from the game. Warning signs remained plentiful.

— Not much passion at Freedom Hall these days, must be saving it for Big East games.

— Three-pointers are coming much too easily for the opposition, too difficult for the Cards.

— Derrick Caracter won’t last long in conference games. Need a couple of free throws against U of L? Take the ball inside.

— Juan Palacios playing his way back into shape; will be a while before he becomes a factor.

— Earl Clark playing tentatively, going through the motions much of the time.

— Edgar Sosa more concerned about his performance than the team’s.

— Will Scott is a poor-to-mediocre three-point shooter at present.

Gift Return Day

— Hope nobody got what they didn’t need from CompUSA; those folks are going out of business. The “All Sales Final” on the receipt means exactly that.

— If you’re returning an item to the Neutral Zone, good luck. Any quality U of L merchandise in that store is priced at least 30% higher than you would expect. I returned a $34.95 U of L football poster. Looked, searched and scrounged for a quality sweatshirt or jacket. You can get them at that price but you would not want to be seen in them. Sticker shock every time I found something likeable. Had to settle for a baseball cap and a coffee mug. The only good news was I got 3 dollars in change.