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Mark Stoops sabotages UofL-UK Governor’s Cup event

July 21, 2014 5 Comments

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops won’t be attending the annual Governor’s Cup Luncheon in Louisville on Wednesday, indicating that he couldn’t spare a full day away from his fledgling program.

Whatever the reason, his reluctance to participate puts Stoops in a bad light, with little regard for the UofL vs. UK rivalry or the organizers of the annual event.  Poor manners, bad etiquette, boorish behavior casting a shadow over what has been a fun event since the football rivalry was renewed in 1994.

Mark Stoops

Mark Stoops

The Governor’s Cup Luncheon has traditionally a unique opportunity for UofL and UK partisans to get together in a casual setting, play some golf, break bread together and trade a few jabs in a setting which, if not always friendly, was less than the hostile atmosphere in which usually meet.

The primary benefit of the rivalry and the luncheon was promoting football in a state that has lagged behind the rest of the country, having to be dragged into the current century where football is the undisputed king of college sports. As an Ohio native and the football coach at a school like UK, Stoops should be among the first to promote the sport in Kentucky.

The actual game won’t be played until Nov. 29 and the event could have been rescheduled but that doesn’t excuse Stoops’ oafish behavior.

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Time for another Maker’s Mark special label. Details of the newest  commemorative bottle will be announced Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Yum! Practice Center. Tom Jurich (via teleconference), men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino and men’s soccer coach Ken Lolla will participate. Proceeds going to the UofL Academic Center for Excellence to be built on the UofL campus.

University of Louisville no brainer for Ray Spalding

July 20, 2014 0 Comments

Home grown talent is always the best possible situation, local players having extra incentive to win.

Ray Spalding ended the speculation Sunday, letting everybody know he has committed to pursue his college career at the University of Louisville.

He’s the second four-star basketball player from the community to commit to Hometown U in the past two years.SPALDING,-RAYMOND_6_25_150 Spalding a 6-foot-9, 200-pound center from Trinity High School, will join Quentin Snider from Ballard on the roster during the 2015-16 season. Snider will be a freshman during the upcoming season.

The best possible fit for a youngster who grew up cheering for the Louisville Cardinals, as he told the Courier-Journal on Sunday:

“It’s a blessing and a dream come true. For a humble kid like me coming from Louisville, to be able to say I could play at the university some day, it’s an honor.”

A couple of days earlier, he told the CJ:

“It’s pretty good being a hometown kid getting a hometown (scholarship) offer,” he said Thursday at the Adidas Invitational, where U of L coach Rick Pitino watched his game. “It’s been pretty crazy going from store to store (in Louisville), and (people say), ‘Oh, you’re Raymond Spalding?’ … But it’s been great.”

Spalding averaged 13.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks last season in leading Trinity to the semi-finals of the Kentucky High School Basketball Tournament.

Added motivation is a big deal at crunch time.

Shoni Schimmel head and shoulders above in a game of all-stars

July 19, 2014 0 Comments

What a show it was, one for the record books.

Shoni Schimmel hasn’t even earned a starting spot on her own team yet, but Saturday she was the undisputed Most Valuable Player in the WNBA all-star game, leading the East to a 126-125 win over the West.soco5hn0drav7h9q1n8ekf3nj6112013.png-final

There Shoni was again, with that familiar behind-the-shoulder flip over 6-foot-8 Britney Griner in the fourth quarter. Making it look easy, following an earlier layup against the same player.

The former All-American at the University of Louisville, now a backup guard for the Atlanta Dream, now owns the all-star game record with 29 points, collecting 11 field goals, including seven of 16 three-point attempts. She also handed out eight assists, including two to Angel McCoughtry another former UofL star who had 13 points.

Twenty five of those points came in the second half, including nine in the third quarter, nine in the fourth, and seven more in overtime.

Seventeen members of her direct and extended family were in the crowd of 14,486 at Phoenix, as well as hundreds of other Native Americans, including many who followed Shoni to games during her years at UofL.

Any reservations (no pun intended) Atlanta Coach Michael Cooper, who also happened to be the East coach, may have had about inserting Shoni Schimmel into his own team’s starting lineup should have been dispelled after her latest performance.

UofL rewards Jim Ramsey for phenomenal leadership

July 19, 2014 1 Comment

Those of us enthralled with the unparalleled growth at the University of Louisville campus over the past decade never want James Ramsey to retire. The accomplishments during his UofL presidency have been extraordinary, and they just keep coming.

James Ramsey

James Ramsey

In the past academic year alone, the University has entered the Atlantic Coast Conference, completed the construction of a $37 million student recreation center, and successfully completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign, among other breakthroughs.

Since he took the post in 2002, UofL has boosted its graduation rate by more than 60 percent, admitted freshmen classes that are more academically gifted each year, recognized more Fulbright scholars than any other state school, and doubled the number of students living on campus.

On Friday, the UofL Foundation voted unanimously to increase Ramsey’s salary by four percent of his Foundation salary and two percent of his University salary. His annual salary as of June 30, 2014, was $624,000 and included $342,930 in university funds plus $281,070 from the privately-funded Foundation.

Hopefully he keeps some of that money for himself this time around. In the past, Ramsey has given nearly $1 million back to the university in the form of outright donations and by giving up bonuses and pay raises. If he were in the private sector heading a similar-sized corporation with such accomplishments, Ramsey would be making five or six times his annual salary at UofL.

Here’s an update from Dr. Ramsey on some recent milestones:

Petrino, Herring & Notre Dame tickets at annual boosters club meeting

July 18, 2014 2 Comments

Heads up. The observer won a Rick Pitino-autographed 2013 NCAA basketball at this event last year with a five-dollar raffle ticket.

One of the best kept secrets on the University of Louisville fan calendar is the annual summer meeting of the Central Cardinal Club, which includes a silent auction, a buffet, and includes insights from key people within the athletic program. Lots of inside information is often passed along to the oldest UofL boosters group, which provides scholarship money to different sports.notre-dame-football-tickets-2

This year’s event, which will include Bobby Petrino, head football coach, and Christine Herring, senior women’s administrator, is scheduled Wednesday, Aug. 12, starting at 4 p.m. at the PNC Club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Twenty dollars per person.

The silent auction is sometimes quite special, offering opportunities to bid on some unique items provided by the coaches. This year a special raffle features two tickets for the Notre Dame game. The silent auction will include autographed memorabilia, gift baskets, sports camps, and Cardinal apparel. Expect some special ACC items as well.

Membership in the Central Cardinal Club is not required but attendees obviously will have an opportunity to join. Deadline for reservations is August 6th.  Here’s the reservation form in PDF format:  Dinner_Reservation_Form_August_2014

Tough decision leads Robert Clark from UofL to Samford

July 18, 2014 4 Comments

Robert Clark, who would have been a senior wide receiver on the University of Louisville football team, is transferring, taking his talents to Samford University.  He could be missed because he’s a talented receiver with good hands and great speed.Robert Clark 2

Clark, remember, transferred to UofL along with Gerald Christian, another wide receiver from the University of Florida in 2011. He had to sit out a year in 2012 but when he got his chance last season, he caught 25 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown in 13 games. He was clearly headed in the right direction, destined for more playing time this season.

Former UofL Coach Charlie Strong once compared Clark to Lorenzo Mauldin saying, “Mauldin is a player who goes 100 miles per hour. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in shorts or full pads, he going to go full speed. Robert Clark is the same way. He goes hard every play. If he runs 100 yards down the field, he’s going to sprint back. It’s just amazing to watch his athletic ability.”

Life in college football can be tough for players like Clark, however. Sitting out a season, making good when he finally gets his chance, only to see the coach who lured him away from Florida take a job at Texas during the player’s senior season. He has, in fact, already graduated and was ready to focus full-time on football.

But it became clear to him under new/old UofL Coach Bobby Petrino that his aspirations would never be realized and playing time would be limited, with fellow seniors Kai De La Cruz, Eli Rogers and Michaelee Harris constantly getting called before him during practice sessions.

Tough decision, transferring but there’s no joy in watching games from the bench.

One has to admire Clark for recognizing the position he was in and taking charge of his destiny. He wants to be in the game, even if that means going to a Division I-AA FCS program in Birmingham. We wish him well.

Black look is back, UofL football releases media guide

July 17, 2014 1 Comment

The media guide is out for the University of Louisville football program, featuring all-black uniforms on the cover so I guess we’re going to be seeing a lot of black this year.

Media Guide in PDF format

Media Guide in PDF format

Personally my favorite was always the black uniforms with the white helmets, a very distinctive look, good guy look. The all black approach reminds me too much of Cincinnati and the Bearcats, and is somewhat suggestive of a perfidious approach, probably because of a one-time rivalry with the UC program.

But if that’s what Coach Bobby Petrino and the current players prefer, I guess we’ll have to adapt.

The roster is still heavily laden with Florida players, with a total of 33 from the Sunshine State. There are 24 from Kentucky with at least seven players from Louisville. Georgia is next with 10, Ohio with nine, North Carolina and Indiana with four, and Tennessee and South Carolina with two. A couple of players — Aaron and Gabe Ahner — hail from Japan, believe it or not.

There are 22 seniors, 25 juniors, 23 sophomores, 16 redshirt freshmen (five-year players), and 19 players listed as freshmen.

The 212-page media guide is in PDF format and be accessed by clicking on the accompanying graphic.

Shop for 2013 NCAA Champions Gear at the Louisville Official Athletic Site!