Tom Jurich looked very much like an individual who still had some things to accomplish, and couldn’t wait to get through the press conference Wednesday on the University of Louisville’s acceptance of an invitation to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“On Monday we’re going to get all of our staff together, including all the coaches, and we’re going to self-scout,” he said. “We’re going to look at each program inside and out and ask ourselves what do we need to do to get better. How do we get better? I’m a big proponent of looking in the mirror and qualifying ourselves. We know we can get better in every single program, and we’re going to figure a way to do it.”
There were also brief glimpses of an individual who has been under intense pressure since Maryland announced it was leaving the ACC for the Big Ten. Occasionally there were glimpses of droopy eye lids, Jurich admitting only after he was asked that he hadn’t slept much over the last 11 days.
“I felt at times like I had the burden of the entire community on my shoulders,” he said. “I knew people were counting on me to come through and I didn’t want to let them down.”
Jurich and his boss, Jim Ramsey, were largely a two-man show during the process. “We had to do this very close to the vest. There’s so much high quality information that can get out there that we had to do this on our own.”
Harkening back to the Big 12 conference realignment last year, Jurich said the Big 12 had already pretty much decided on West Virginia. “We were able to make some presentations that got us in the discussions. I have no regrets over how that turned out. We gave it our best shot.”
Ramsey said the key to UofL’s success was building on the university’s academic and athletic success. “Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort over a number of years. It reflects on the work that Tom has done for 15 years to build excellence in all that we do in the athletic program at the University of Louisville.
“We always said that first and foremost is the academic success of our student athletes and be committed to doing things the right way with the highest level of integrity and playing by the rules, including financial integrity in building the strength of our athletic program over time and excellence in all sports.
“Because of Tom’s leadership and because we have met and exceeded all these objectives, we have been given this opportunity to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.”