UofL’s Bendapudi galvanizing force to rescue Jewish Hospital

Neeli Benedapudi was able to pull all of divergent forces together under a tight deadline for what appears to be unanimous support for the University of Louisville to rescue numerous health care facilities The hard part is getting it through the Kentucky Legislature..

Neeli Bendapudi has delivered the plan. Now it’s up to the state legislature.

The presence of the University of Louisville may soon be greatly magnified throughout this community, which has hopefully been spared massive losses in healthcare services for patients and jobs for health care providers.

Thanks to Dr. Bendapudi, Jewish Hospital will not be announcing plans this week to close its doors. The historic hospital, along with nine other health care facilities in the area, will soon be under the auspices of UofL.

The University will invest $10 million in purchasing all of the assets of Kentucky One from CommonSpirit Health, its Chicago-based parent company. CommonSpirit will forgive $19.7 million in outstanding promissory notes from University Medical Center Inc. UofL will receive more than $76 million of working capital in the form of accounts receivable and cash to meet future operating expenses.

The deal came together within two weeks after discussions about Jewish Hospital fell through with a potential private investor. Knowing that Louisville could not afford to be without the facilities, Bendapudi was able to marshal an almost unprecedented level of cooperation between city and state officials and political parties.

UofL also will acquire the following:

  • Frazier Rehab Institute
  • Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital
  • Our Lady of Peace Hospital
  • Jewish Hospital, Shelbyville
  • Jewish Medical Centers East, Northeast, South and Southwest
  • Physician groups affiliated with KentuckyOne

Another integral part of the deal would include a $50 million loan from the state, subject to the approval of the Kentucky General Assembly. Governor Matt Bevin has endorsed the plan, along with the leaders of both parties in the Kentucky General Assembly. Getting something this important passed in Kentucky is always a struggle.

After years of struggle with the city’s healthcare challenges, there is reason for optimism again, providing hope that Louisville will again resume its pioneering role in medical research and quality health care.

She has a long list of names of people to credit, and their involvement was absolutely necessary, but Neeli Bendapudi is the driving force.

Special craft beer in works for Louisville alumni, fans

Special craft beer may be on the way for Louisville alumni and fans.

Some people are thinking outside the ivory tower on Belknap Campus.

The University of Louisville is actively entertaining the notion of a special blend of craft beer to be marketed to university alumni and young professionals at retail locations across the country.

Cardinal Brew?  L1C4 Special?  Griffith Gold? Russ Smith Lite?

Just a few names that come to mind for a craft beer that would be specifically marketed for UofL partisans. Lord knows, they love their beer.

The University has issued an official Request For Proposal for a “logoed” craft beer partnership. The partnership will be geared toward providing a craft beer with one of the retro logos from the university archive library.

The RFP states that the partnership does not include UofL athletics. However, the successful bidder will have an opportunity to explore pouring rights and additional university sponsorship marketing outside of the partnership. 

The deadline for responses to the RFP is Thursday, May 2. Applicants making the “short list” will be announced the week of May 6th, with proposer presentations scheduled May 20th and a Letter of Intent the week of June 3rd. The RFP notes that all dates are subject to change.

In support of the school’s commitment to reducing waste and “extraneous” use of natural resources, applicants were requested to submit their proposals on two-sided recycled paper containing 30% post-consumer waste. 

The RFP notes that the University has 141,000 “addressable” alumni. Also included are maps showing the heaviest concentrations of UofL alumni across the nation and in Kentucky and Indiana. The heaviest concentrations outside the region are in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Atlanta.

Make that a Cardinal Brew for this observer.

Abrupt ending to Asia Durr era for Louisville women

Cindy Rice Shelton photo

Once again thoughts turn to next year for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

As Asia Durr goes, so goes the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. She’s done and so are the Cardinals in the 2018-19 season.

Durr would miss her first shot 15 seconds into the championship game of the NCAA regional at Albany, N.Y.  Following that one up with eight more misses in the first quarter, not making her first field goal until the beginning of the second quarter.

Louisville could not afford to have its leading scorer get off to a bad start, not against one women’s college basketball’s winningest programs. The worst fears of UofL fans quickly becoming evident, leading to a prolonged and painful realization that her journey was coming to an end.

Meanwhile, UConn’s Katie Samuelson, recently missing four games with back problems, having the game of her career with 29 points, including seven of 12 three-point attempts and a couple of circus shots. Take that Louisville, with those dreams of a national championship.

Durr would wind up with some impressive stats, too — 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists — but because the slow start, Louisville was trying to stay in the game for the most part. Her fellow seniors — Sam Fuehring and Arica Carter — contributing 15 and 10 points, respectively. 

UofL did manage to cut the deficit to two points at the 36-second mark, but the odds of winning were never encouraging. A disappointing end to a fabulous career, her team losing once again to UConn, this time by a score of 80-73.  

The Huskies again asserting their superiority in a series they have dominated by a 18-2 since the early nineties. Durr finishing her college career with 2,485 points, second only to Angel McCoughtry on UofL’s all-time scoring list. 

A magical career for career with some unforgettable moments for Asia Durr. Sad the journey ending a bit too soon.

Jeff Walz adds options for leaving Louisville post

Jeff Walz would address the question at least four more times after his opening statement about rumors of a potential job offer from the University of Tennessee, indicating that similar rumors have surfaced following the last four seasons.

Finally, on the very last question in the press conference, the Observer reminding Walz of his oft-repeated promise that he would leave UofL only if he retired or was fired. While not reaffirming that pledge,Walz did indicate that he would leave under a couple of other conditions.

“If the Los Angeles Lakers’ job came open, I might leave. If they offered me the job, I would be gone. If I could coach LeBron, I would leave. 

“If I could win the Powerball Wednesday night, I would leave, too. If I could pick the right six tonight, I might not see you all tomorrow.” The Powerball jackpot is an estimated 750 million bucks.

A couple of times during the press conference Walz said he was “not going to worry about” a job offer from Tennessee. “There is no job opening there right now,” he said. “This is a part of the business, you win and people start rumors. I have a game to prepare for. We’ll talk about it briefly with the team and move on.”

Walz is not getting fired, not retiring, not getting any offers from the Lakers, and the odds of anyone winning the Powerball jackpot are odds of 1 in 292.2 million. 

Cardinal fans can relax for now, at least until the Powerball numbers are announced. Until then, Jeff Walz’ focus is on the Oregon State tip off on Friday in the Sweet 16.

Ed Peak: Louisville women are ready for post-season fun

Jeff Walz cutting down the net after winning his team’s first ACC championship last season (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

By Ed Peak

Jeff Walz is a candidate for “Coach of the Year” honors, Asia Durr for “Player of the Year” and this University of Louisville women’s basketball team is a contender to win a national championship. Until last Thursday I was a little pessimistic. No longer.

The way third-ranked Louisville shredded 10th-ranked North Carolina State convinced me that this team is ready for another long post-season run. Tampa, the site of this year’s Final Four, is a nice place to visit. I’ve been there, and it’s especially nice in early April.

Asia Durr gets one more run at an NCAA championship (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The ACC has proven again to rival the Southeastern Conference for supremacy in women’s college hoops. Notre Dame, NC State, Miami, Florida and Florida State are all quality teams. It’s possible the Irish, the defending national champions, will be a No. 1 seed as well even if they lose in the conference tournament.

Winning the conference tournament or the NCAA will be difficult. But a very tough schedule has the Cardinals well prepared. Non-conference wins over UCONN, Boise State, Arizona State and Kentucky have helped as well. That bitter loss to Mississippi State in overtime in the semifinals is in the back of the mind of these players.

You can bet Durr, Sam Fuehring, Arica Carter and Dana Evans remember the two rushed missed layups as time expired in regulation that would have put the Cardinals in the finals against Muffet McGraw’s Irish, a team Louisville had beaten twice last season.

All that doesn’t matter. What does matter is Louisville needs to play well in the conference tournament to sharpen up for the NCAA’s.

The No. 2 seed Cardinals open conference tourney play Friday against either No. 15 Wake Forest or No. 7 Virginia Tech. My money is on Tech that played the Cards tough in the second half in Blacksburg, Va. in February.

Another NC State matchup could follow in the semifinals and it’s possible a game with Notre Dame, a team the Cards lost to in January in the finals. Foul trouble hurt the Cardinals in that game. And Louisville wasn’t playing with as much confidence then as it seems to have now.

Among the keys will be how Fuehring plays in the middle and controls her emotions. How junior Bianca Dunham scores and rebounds is equally important. If Durr isn’t scoring, she needs to find  Carter, Jazmine Jones and Dana Evans. Kylee Shook seems to be progressing in the middle. If Fuehring gets in foul trouble, Shook will have to pick up the slack. Mykasa Robinson and Seygan Robins will provide relief and must contribute.

Time to start clicking on all cylinders, taking advantage of still another opportunity to achieve Jeff Walz’ ultimate goal for this basketball program. Wait till next year has arrived, destiny is staring this team in the face.

As Al McGuire, the late Marquette coach would say. “The last shot has to go in.” Here’s hoping that last shot goes in this time.