The apology tour has begun for Coach Steve Kragthorpe after inexcusably missing an opportunity to represent the University of Louisville program at the Kentucky Football Coaches Clinic on Thursday. About 120 high school football coaches were stood up when Kragthorpe failed to make an appearance.
The observer was reminded of his first impression of Coach K about two weeks after he took the U of L post, the coach showing up more than an hour late for his first meeting with fans at the Neutral Zone in Middletown. Said he couldn’t find the place. Bad omen, the observer was thinking at the time. New guy, new town, let this one pass.
But this latest faux pas is flat out embarrassing. Take it, Coach K:
Advance Ready Mix knows how to customize the cement mixing vehicles for its work on the construction project, scheduled to be completed in November 2010. The same company decorated its trucks in a similar fashion following U of L’s first NCAA basketball championship in 1980.
Probably the best thing about Rick Pitino’s decision to hire Ralph Willard of Holy Cross as his new assistant at the University of Louisville is that Pitino did not stoop to hiring a friend of William Wesley’s (a.k.a. World Wide Wes) in an effort to plug in to that pipeline of controversial connections to high school basketball talent. That was believed to be an option.
The regrettable part is that Wiley Brown, an integral part of U of L’s 1980 championship team, was not the choice. Brown’s credentials have never been questioned and he has paid his dues, serving as strength coach for Pitino and getting successful coaching experience under his belt at Indiana-Southeast with a 24-6 won-lost record last season.
Like many of his decisions, Pitino makes the least predictable one, this time choosing a head coach to become his assistant, a post usually reserved for up and coming coaches. Twenty-one of Pitino’s former assistants or players have become college head coaches. So what do we know about Ralph Willard:
The 63-year-old is Pitino’s best friend. Pitino actually presented a surprised Kevin Willard, Ralph’s son, with a Rolex watch when his Iona team played U of L two years ago.
The elder Willard, an assistant to Pitino at the New York Knicks and the University of Kentucky, hired Tom Crean (Indiana coach) as an assistant at Western Kentucky University.His coaching record is 303-213.
While Willard has had health issues — prostate cancer in 2002 and a heart condition in 2008 — he says the fire still burns within him.Â “To me, itâ€™s all about teaching and winning and relationships. To me, thatâ€™s what coaching is all about.”
Obviously, Willard is not pursuing an easier lifestyle by choosing to work with Pitino, as anyone who has worked closely with Pitino will attest. Pitino has plenty of challenges at present and has always expected people he works with to keep up with his frantic pace.
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Ironically, a blogger for the Albany (NY) Times-Union predicted that Willard’s son, Kevin, would get the recently-vacated University of Southern California job, and would hire his father as his top assistant.
It is late in the game against Cal State Fullerton and Sean Moth is recapping the action for fans that might have just tuned in. Not a pleasurable or easy thing to do, since the Cards are down 11-2 and on the verge of elimination of the NCAA Tournament. Still, Moth gives a dutiful and accurate review of the previous action, keeping to the statistics and avoiding any personal commentary.
Not that many fans are listening, since the game is on national television and the Cards are way down early. Also, the low watt radio station isn’t easy to pick up in most areas of the Louisville area. Despite the blowout and hopelessness of the situation, Moth handles the duties with skill and professionalism.
This is Sean Moth. Talk about a multitude of hats to wear! Not only is he the public address announcer for football, men and women’s basketball, he does the announcing for soccer, volleyball and is sports information director for baseball and soccer. All this from a guy who was doing Colorado Avalanche hockey and Denver Nuggets basketball eight years ago. What prompted the move from the mile high city to Derby town?
Simple. We all know that Tom Jurich gets who and what he wants. Having met when both were at Colorado State, Jurich was well familiar with the professional delivery and photographic knowledge Moth possessed when it came to sports. With the death of long time Cardinal public address announcer John Tong, and a request from backup P.A. man, the late Jack Tennant, for less responsibility, Jurich knew he needed someone that could evoke a little emotion from the fans while giving a clear and concise account of the action on the turf and hardwood.
Moth was the clear choice, and his trademark lines of “that’s good for another CARDS-FIRST-DOWN” chant and the long extended “threeeeeeee” after a long-range shot hitting the mark have become Cardinal favorites over the years.
Now that baseball has ended, Moth gets a brief announcing break for the summer. A chance to do a little fly-fishing and maybe a trip or two to Churchill to watch some racing. A rest well deserved for the University of Louisville’s most audible guy. The tag, “Voice of the Cards” will always belong to Paul Rogers…but for Sean the title “Man on the Mike” seems to fit just fine.
Gonna be two things to watch during the University of Louisville football games this fall, the action on the field and the construction taking place on the east side of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The massive support structure is being added for the 15,000 additional seats, which will take stadium capacity up to 55,000 in time for the 2010 season.