A five-minute thunderstorm half way through the ribbon-cutting ceremonies couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd that turned out Thursday for the official opening of the Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Soccer Stadium on the University of Louisville campus.
The entire setting had an historic feel to it with all dazzling graphics throughout the stadium, the demolition of the silos in the background, and with a 50-car freight train passing by on the north end of the field.
Ken Lolla, coach of the UofL men’s soccer team, thanked Tom Jurich, vice president of athletics for his visionary thinking, proclaiming that college soccer would be forever changed by the completion of this particular stadium.
“Student athletes are going to come play in here and have an experience like they’ve never had,” said Lolla. “There will be coaches who will come in here and go back to their athletic directors and athletic departments and say, ‘We need to do something more. We need to do something better.’
“Because of that inspiration and the vision we have created, the big winner is going to be college soccer. This date is historic. College soccer will never be same.”
Benefactor Mark Lynn, who, along with this wife Cindy, donated $5 million to help build the $18 million plus stadium, said he was just honored to be a small piece of the process. “I love this university and am excited to be a part of such a dynamic program,” he said.
Coach Ken Lolla gets the crown jewel of college soccer stadiums. The silos will be gone next week.
The silos on the newly-acquired University of Louisville acreage continue their vanishing act, fading away into history with only five of them still standing Wednesday, and portions of others being pieced away massive chunk by massive chunk. The view of Belknap Campus will be much different next week for the thousands of motorists on nearby I-65.
Dominique Brown sure hasn’t been getting much press during the pre-season for a player who was the leading rusher on a University of Louisville football team that compiled a 12-1 record last season. Under the radar for some inexplicable reason.
The 6-foot-2, 241-pound senior running back rushed for “only” 825 yards and eight touchdowns last seson, getting the tough yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Not too shabby in a conservative Charlie Strong grind-it-out approach, stressing ball control and defense at the expense of entertaining offense.
Brown reminds this observer of another UofL running back from the past in stature, speed and running style — one Eric Shelton who rushed for 938 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2004. That team, coached by Bobby Petrino, went 11-1, defeated Boise State in the Liberty Bowl and finished among the nation’s top 10 teams.
What’s most impressive was that Shelton was putting up such numbers sharing ball-carrying duties with Michael Bush, who gained 753 yards and seven touchdowns. Despite the disparity, Shelton always seemed to be playing in the shadow of Bush.
The Cardinal logo and the names of Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn have been added to the facade of the new University of Louisville soccer stadium, two of the last remaining items on the list before construction is complete. Tom Jurich, vice president of athletics, had promised back in 2012 to build the finest college soccer facility in the country and he has delivered.
Not everyone was happy but Bobby Petrino comes to the rescue, showing a compassionate side of the University of Louisville football coach.
Then it was back to preparing his team for its opener against Miami on Monday. The Jurich family did take the challenge, by the way.
If there was any good news about DeVante Parker during Monday’s press conference, it may have been that he fractured the smallest toe on his left foot instead of the big toe. He was scheduled to undergo surgery in Charlotte later in the day, with an expected recovery period of six to eight weeks.
Parker’s projected return is possibly and understandably on the conservative side. One could conclude that there’s less stress on smaller toes than the big one, and Parker could conceivably return sooner rather than later.
“His loss restricts you a little bit,” said University of Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino. “He’s a very, very talented guy. We’ll certainly miss a guy like him. We’re going to be a little bit different.
“We’re not going to be have to have one guy step in and tell him, ‘Now, you’re DeVante.’ We’ve got to be to utilize the weapons we have, the things they do well, mix the ball around and put guys in a position where they can excel.”
The status of running back Michael Dyer remains day to day. “It remains to be seen whether he will be able to play,” said the coach.
New season, new coach, new league, and three of the six home football games are sold out already.
Fewer than 55 tickets available for the Murray State game, less than 155 tickets available for the Wake Forrest game, and less than 255 tickets were available for the North Carolina State game, according to Keith Thomerson who checked with the University of Louisville Ticket Office on Friday.
Games with Miami, Florida State, and Kentucky are at capacity.
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Jaylen Johnson, the a 6-foot-8, 210-pound power forward from Ypsilanti, Mich., has finally arrived on the University of Louisville campus and is enrolled in classes, according to a report from the Courier-Journal citing the Registrar’s Office. Classes officially began on Monday.
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The Cardinal Caravan didn’t happen this summer, probably because the event coincided with all the ACC celebrating. But a special event at Captain’s Quarters restaurant Wednesday has all the earmarks of the tradition.
The event, kicking off the opening ACC week at 7:30 p.m., will include a lineup of speakers including Tom Jurich and Rick Pitino and numerous other UofL coaches and athletes, as well as the band, cheerleaders and the Cardinal Bird.
Fans will need to RSVP at GoCards.com/CQ.
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Earlier Wednesday, Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn will join UofL officials in an invitation-only ribbon cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m. for the new Lynn Soccer Stadium on Floyd Steet. The women’s soccer team will make its first appearance in the stadium Friday at 6 p.m. against Mississippi, followed by the men’s game against Maryland at 8:30 p.m.