Cardinal Stadium expansion nearing the home stretch

The breadth and scope of the expanded football facilities at Cardinal Stadium will never be fully comprehended by the average fan. But the changes will be phenomenal for existing and future members of the University of Louisville football program.

Stadium Manager Michael Ortman takes us behind the scenes in the video with a progress report on the status of the football complex, which is being quadrupled in size. Stadium expansion, which will increase seating between 5,000 and 6,000 seats, will raise capacity to 60,000-plus for the 2018 season.


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Some rare Lamar Jackson memorabilia is going be auctioned off at the Petrino Family Foundation Coaches & Cocktails Reception on Thursday, April 12. The event, which will be held in the stadium PNC Club from 6 to 9 p.m., is sponsored by Planet Fitness.

According to promotional materials, “We have everything from signed Heisman footballs, Lamar Jackson signed jerseys and helmets, and even some awesome custom autographed Lamar Jackson prints. If you are looking for an autographed Lamar Jackson item, the Coaches and Cocktails Reception is the place for you!”

Individual tickets are $100, couples for $150, and tables for $650. Place your orders here.

New President describes UofL as diamond in the rough

“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.

Welcome to UofL, Dr. Bendapudi. 

 

Hines-Allen leaves a legacy after overtime loss in Final Four

Myisha Hines-Allen had to know it was all but over the moment no whistle was blown after she was muscled into the backstop on that layup in the closing seconds. A throw down of epic proportions, no way was she going to be allowed to make that shot.

Four great seasons for come to an end for Myisha Hines-Allen in the Final Four at Columbus.

A sad way to end a brilliant career for one of all-time greats in the annals of University of Louisville women’s basketball. Just 10 seconds earlier she had given the Cardinals a three-point lead, choosing to widen the lead instead of waiting to get fouled or running out the clock.

Fate had made it possible, a championship opportunity had beckoned, but it had slipped through their fingers. Mississippi State would take full advantage, wearing down the Cardinals 73-63 in overtime. Leaving Myisha in tears, frustrating UofL fans again in a non-existent rivalry with a team from somewhere in Mississippi.

Hines-Allen will be remembered in a lot of different ways by UofL fans, mostly for the toughness with which she played, especially during her senior season in her team to a 36-3 won-lost record, the best in the school’s history.

Hines-Allen became just the second UofL women’s player with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, joining Angel McCoughtry in that elite company. She has 16 double-doubles this season and her 45 career double-doubles rank second in school history. She also has 373 total rebounds this season, the most in program history.

The leadership yoke now falls to her teammates, in good hands with players like Asia Durr, Sam Fuehring and Arica Carter. Each of them making significant contributions during a memorable season, hopefully stronger, wiser and more determined.

The play of Hines-Allen during her final season at UofL should provide plenty of inspiration. Filling her shoes will be a major challenge.

Let the Chris Mack era begin at Louisville

While acknowledging some issues, Chris Mack chooses to look forward at Louisville (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

All the flack endured by the University of Louisville over the past couple of years was unfortunate but none of the issues did anything to dampen Chris Mack’s admiration of the UofL basketball program. His respect was such that he would leave his hometown and give up a nine-year coaching stint at his alma mater to take charge at Louisville.

Three-year-old Brayden vied with the press with his father’s attention during Chris Mack’s introductory press conference at the University of Louisville (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

“This is an awesome and exciting day for me and my family, the opportunity of a lifetime,” he told the crowd of approximately 350 people at his introductory press conference at the KFC Yum! Center. “Standing here before you representing a school that has had two permanent basketball coaches since 1971., two hall of fame coaches, multiple final fours, multiple national championships, and multiple All-Americans … ”

The new UofL coach was accompanied on the stage by his wife Christi, his daughters, Hailee, 11, and Lainee (12). His 3-year-old son Brayden also was there but not long, wandering the back of the meeting room where he was heavily pre-occupied with  Play Doh.

Former UofL Coach Denny Crum tells Chris Mack that he made a good decision to move his family to Louisville (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

If Mack sounded like someone living the dream, it was because he has long admired UofL basketball. “I told the UofL players it was not easy to leave a situation in which less than 24 hours ago I was in another locker room with another group of players with a lot of tears,” he said. “To leave Xavier to come here, this place had to be pretty special. And it is, very special.”

Chris Mack became Vince Tyra’s first major hire since assuming athletic director responsibilities at UofL (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Sharing his enthusiasm is his wife, the former Christi Hester, who grew up in the Louisville area. She was runner-up for Miss Kentucky Basketball as a senior at Holy Cross High School in 1996.  Runner-up to Jaime Richey, the sister of Jeff Walz, who coaches the UofL women’s basketball team.

During his nine-year tenure at Xavier University, Mack was considered a candidate for some other major coaching jobs, but chose not to leave. “Some people say, ‘Why go there (to Louisville?). He’s crazy’. I have never been afraid of a challenge. I faced a lot of adversity during my playing years (including ACL injuries in both knees).  It was a tough decision but in my heart I knew it was the right decision.”

Mack said it was not his job to look backwards but to look forward.  “I told these guys (the UofL players) that this is my final stop,” he said. “I’m never going to coach at another university, not in the NBA, or in high school. I can’t wait to get started.”