Two tickets to every University of Louisville basketball and football game during the 2018-19 season? How about the Oaks and Kentucky Derby in May? The Louisville Bats’ season? The Quaker State 400?
That’s what’s up for grabs in the Louisville Sports Commission’s annual Golden Ticket raffle. Only 400 chances are available at $100 each, with proceeds going to the LSC’s ongoing efforts to attract top-flight sports events to the community.
Not that Card Game would encourage it, but the winner would also have the option of selecting UK tickets. Two tickets to the 2019 Paul Hornung Award Banquet would also be included.
While much has been made of all the time needed to hire the new President, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees was not wasting any time filling some other key positions. A number of their recent actions will enable Neeli Bendapudi to focus on other priorities when she assumes the office on May 15th.
Bendapudi had to be pleased that the Vince Tyra has already been hired as Athletic Director and that Tyra had named Chris Mack as Head Basketball Coach. Starting from scratch wasn’t an option, the positions needing to be filled quickly to avoid losing basketball players from the current team.
Marketing expertise is exactly what the University of Louisville needs right now, and Bendapudi is uniquely qualified to provide the leadership ...
But there were other openings, equally if not more important to the University, that needed to be addressed.
Just this week UofL announced the choice for the new Dean of the J.B. Speed Engineering School, vacated by Neville Pinto who filled in f0r the UofL Presidency on an interim basis before becoming President at the University of Cincinnati. Emmanuel Collins, chairman of mechanical engineering at Florida A&M-Florida State, will be Dean starting July 1.
An appointment that didn’t get much attention a while back was that of Colin Crawford as the 24th dean of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. Previously he had served as a professor of environmental law at Tulane University. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School and degrees in modern history from Cambridge and Columbia Universities.
With so many key positions already filled, Bendapudi will be able to turn her attention to marketing and fundraising, which are her areas of expertise. The direction of the school’s fundraising efforts is in limbo, with Bryan Robinson, who last year succeeded Keith Inman as Interim Vice President for Advancement, having resigned in February.
Before becoming Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at Kansas, she was Dean of the School of Business, where she increased undergraduate enrollment in the school by 62 percent, improved undergraduate job placement from 55 percent to 77 percent, and oversaw almost $200 million in fundraising for the school. She also received many department, school and national teaching awards.
With the appointment of a woman, a person of color, and an individual with a foreign heritage, the UofL Board of Trustees has scored a major public relations victory with the liberal mainstream media. The media agenda of advancing diversity for the sole purpose of diversity is clear, and these advantages can not be overstated.
Marketing expertise is exactly what the University of Louisville needs right now, and Bendapudi is uniquely qualified to provide the leadership that has been sorely missing over the last two years. The new President has a strong track record of success and, early indications are that she is supremely confident, has amazing enthusiasm, and is determined that UofL will be a much greater university.
“I really believe the best days for the University of Louisville are yet to come. I have no doubt in my mind or I wouldn’t be here.”
The 18th President of UofL, Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, responded enthusiastically when she was asked about taking over a university that has had more than its share of issues over the past two years.
“And that’s not because of any magic I will bring, or any secret sauce I bring, but I believe in the people here. Our location is unbeatable. We can be such an attractive. I mean, come on, the food, the music, the arts scene, the sports, we have it all. I think it’s a thriving environment, I think it’s a fabulous university, with the calibre of our faculty, our staff and our students.
“Will it be challenging? Probably. But I have talked to a few, very loyal alumni, who are eager to say, ‘How can we help? What can we do?’ So I’m very enthused about the opportunity.
In response to a question about dwindling state funding, Dr. Bendapudi said, “I think that’s a concern of all public universities. Legislators face great pressures so it’s our job to articulate why investment in higher education is one of the best things any region can do for economic development. When you think of what attracts employers, what creates a tax base. Quite frankly, it’s access to talent. Our environment as an urban university positions us uniquely and I have complete confidence that this Legislature and this Governor wants to see the University of Louisville strong and thriving after the period of uncertainty we went through.”
As for past scandals, she said the way to avoid them is a) to set the tone. Culture is what you tolerate. We want to protect the University of Louisville and the Cardinals for the long term. That is the best way to succeed. The second way is to be incredibly accessible to students, faculty and staff. The leader cannot be everywhere but the leader can absolutely set the tone for who we are, what we want to be and what we will not tolerate.”
She also complimented the UofL Board of Trustees, describing it as an exceptional board, the commitment, the care, the calibre of oversight they will bring. “I am very confident that they do not want to do anything that hurts the university. We owe it to our student, our staff, our faculty and certainly to our alumni.”
Quite an outstanding first impression from an accomplished individual and academic who says she plans to be at UofL for the long term. She’s really good with those L signs, too.
The year of our Lord, two thousand and thirteen, was christened “The Year of The Cardinal.” All University of Louisville sports were flourishing. Teddy Bridgewaters. Final Fours. Sugar Bowls. Russdiculous’s. Terrell Floyd pick-sixes. Devante Parkers. Gorgui Diengs. Peyton Sivas. Shoni Schimmel. Conference championships. ACC induction on the horizon. And yes, a National Championship. Thank you Charlie Strong, Rick Pitino, Dan McDonnell, Jeff Walz. Things could not have been better. The architects of the aforementioned glorious age. For over a thousand generations these coaches were the guardians of peace and justice. Before the Dark Times.
Okay, sorry, Obiwan. So it wasn’t exactly over a thousand generations, but you get the analogy. Everything was right a long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away. Although it has seemed like it for the last few years.
Vince Tyra has a chance to possibly usher in a renaissance, rebirth, reformation, realignment, rehabilitation, recovery, reawakening, renewal, restoration, revival, all the other re’s that are out there that my online thesaurus forgot to include.
Mr. Tyra has finally been anointed as Athletic Director at The University of Louisville. A title that is sacred to the English version of knighthood basically in the kingdom of the city of Louisville. He has gargantuan armor boots to fill that were unceremoniously stripped from Sir Thomas Jurich. The kingdom will be watching, some skeptically, some anxiously, some placated, as he takes the throne and his first decree is to anoint a new men’s basketball coach.
The bigger scuttlebutt making its way around the land is Tyra will hand the keys of the kingdom over to Minuteman Chris Mack on Tuesday. If Mack was to continue his current trajectory, he could possible lead the men’s team back to glory. He can build upon the castle that Crum, Jurich, Pitino have built and expand the realm and rehang the banner that was stolen by the malcontents, the dissidents, the scourge.
How about a Cardinal that rises from the ashes with red fire instead of feathers?
Puma Pass is inheriting the keys to the gridiron from Heisman hero Lamar Jackson. As great as Jackson was, there seemed to be a ceiling to what the gridiron templars could accomplish under his reign, probably through no fault of his own. Coach Petrino can now hopefully run his offense in the more traditional manner that we were accustomed to and maybe Puma can shatter that ceiling and lift the Cards into the next stratosphere, starting with a Davidesque slaying of Alabubba Goliath this fall. Legend hints of this already happening before from days of old.
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.
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.