Ron Lasley, aka 4evercard, was an icon among UofL fans

Ron Lasley’s voice will be missed as the University of Louisville moves forward.

Good to have known you, 4evercard.

Ron Lasley, one of the best University of Louisville fans it has been one’s privilege to know, left this earth on Friday after a lingering illness and a lifetime love affair with UofL athletics.  A huge loss for the University and for everyone who was warmed by his positive spirit.

He was a giver, someone who cared for other people, an individual who had a gift of making other people feel better about the world and about themselves. He was a reminder of the days when people of different backgrounds and beliefs could communicate amicably with each other. 

A season ticket holder for decades, Ron would rarely miss a UofL basketball or football game, often attending  baseball, women’s basketball and volleyball competition.  He was a generous giver, always among the first to contribute to projects like the football stadium, the indoor practice facility, and the expansion of Jim Patterson Stadium.

Ron was a frequent contributor to local UofL fan message boards for over two decades, earning high marks from fellow fans for his insightful comments at Cardinal Authority, Inside The Ville and the Louisville Sports Report. As “4evercard,” he was among the most popular commenters on the boards.

Not only was his knowledge of basketball obvious, but he had a way of providing insights in a way that was always constructive, respectful and optimistic. He loved talking Louisville sports, and he was on the message boards day and night, responding to numerous threads.

No one ever heard anyone say anything negative about Ron, nor Ron about anyone else.

As the writer of his obituary noted, “No one ever heard anyone say anything negative about Ron, nor Ron about anyone else.”

One of his best friends was Wiley Brown, who played on UofL’s 1980 NCAA championship basketball team. They would meet for lunch often at the Hoops Restaurant next door to Lasley’s Salemaker Carts business in South Louisville. He remained a mentor to Winston Bennett, a former UofL ball boy, even after Bennett shocked him by signing with the University of Kentucky.

The very last UofL game Ron watched was the women’s basketball team against UConn from his hospital bed last Monday. Unfortunately for Ron, they lost the game but he would be looking forward to seeing them again in post-season play.

Ron was among the giants in UofL’s fan base, and he will be missed.

Visitation will be Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ratterman Funeral home, 7336 Southside Drive. Funeral Wednesday at 11 a.m. with burial following at Cave Hill Cemetery.

Louisville still looking for take charge guy after North Carolina loss

Best crowd of the season, 21,210 fans for the Louisville-North Carolina game at the KFC Yum! Center (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

University of Louisville basketball fans, bless their hearts, hoping for the return of the good times. An electric atmosphere, a white out game, a crowd of 21,210 on hand at the KFC Yum! Center. Ready to make some magic happen.

The frenzied throng would will their team back from an early deficit of 19 points only to  see UofL fall short time and time again. Unable to handle the pass, make the play, grab the rebound or make the shot that would have put the game on the line.

Deng Adel missing on this shot but leading UofL with 20 points and six assists (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A team seemingly unable to match the enthusiasm or confidence of its fans. Unable to make shots within point blank range, blowing all kinds of layups. Not a threat on the offensive boards, getting outscored 22-6 on second chance points.

Missing from UofL was a lack of any defensive presence in the 93-76 loss to North Carolina. The Cardinals unable to sustain any intensity on the defensive end, allowing the Tar Heels to make almost 50% of their shots.

As in UofL’s previous eight losses, fans looking for someone to provide some positive energy — take over a game, provide some leadership, refuse to lose — would be disappointed. The leadership doesn’t seem to be there, either from an individual or collective basis, verbally or by example. 

The latest loss occurring after impressive wins over two of the worst teams in the conference, dashing any hopes that UofL had turned any corners. Exposing the Cardinals, and their biggest weakness, still looking for leadership with four games to go in the regular season. 


Her conversion to UofL

First date was a University of Louisville football game, Memphis the opponent, snowing that night, Lee Corso coaching, John Madeya taking the snaps for UofL.


Little did she know this would be first of many Louisville football games, as well as basketball and baseball, to follow over the years if she continued to tolerate the observer. Spring games, scrimmages, groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings, memorabilia, prints, face paint, car flags, Cardinal gear, women’s games, soccer, day trips, caravans, NCAA tournaments, bowl games … and 11 football coaches.

She was attending the University of Kentucky at the time, drawing the observer to Lexington two or three times a week. After dining and wining her on a Valentine’s Day at the Campbell House in Lexington. the observer would get up the nerve to propose, but have to wait two or three weeks for her response. She would finally said yes, thankfully, and his life would never be the same.

Initially a UK fan, she would switch her allegiance completely to the Cardinals after two or three years, coming to share the observer’s passion for UofL in what has become a decades-long experience.

Flowers, candy, a card, dinner and maybe a movie as she enjoys a day off from work. Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

Familiar script for Louisville women against UConn

The big stage, the bright lights blinding and numbing, the touring actors fumbling their lines, trying to ad lib their way.

Panic time in those first 10 minutes, the University of Louisville women’s basketball team committing nine turnovers, missing 12 of 14 field goal attempts. UConn up 24-6 after the first quarter. Game over.

Familiar script against the Huskies. Starts out innocently enough, with a turnover leading to a quick UConn basket. Between all the empty trips down court for the Cardinals, there is one turnover, another and still another, the Huskies converting all of them into points. 

The outcome never in doubt after the initial surge although the margin was only 11 points in UConn’s 69-58 win over visiting Louisville in front of 10,000-plus. Just another night at Gampel Pavillion where the Huskies have won 76 straight home games.

Some might find some consolation in the fact that the UofL women outscored UConn 38-27 in the second half. They would have to acknowledge that the Huskies were never seriously threatened. Had they been, would there have been still another surge?

Coach Jeff Walz may have convinced his pupils that they could play with UConn after the first quarter, and they did hang around.  By then it was too late, his charges totally unprepared and unequipped to handle the initial mugging.

Lots of talk after the game about the Cardinals having learned some lessons and knowing what they had to work on the rest of the season. You know, just in case they run into UConn during the post-season. 

The Cardinals obviously learned a lot about themselves, absorbing one blow after another to their collective psyche. Pretty obvious that it’s going to take more than just trading baskets with UConn for a couple of quarters to ever seriously threaten the Huskies.

Tyra leaves no doubt he’s in charge of Louisville athletics

One has to be impressed with Vince Tyra in his capacity as Interim Athletic Director when it comes to  managing issues. All business, straightforward, unapologetic about wanting what’s best for the University of Louisville. A calm force in the midst of the storm.

Tyra may never completely win over a segment of the UofL fan base. Primarily because he replaced Tom Jurich, one of the most popular administrators in UofL’s history. But if Tyra remains as open as he was in Thursday’s press conference, he will have earned their respect at a critical time for the school.

Vince Tyra prefers facts to second-guessing, updating fans on developments in UofL Athletic Department (Charlie Springer photo).

The son of a former UofL All-America basketball player, Tyra seems to be keenly aware of the concerns of fans and supporters. This is a vital quality, given the priority of the Board of Trustees in managing finances. He’s qualified on several fronts — he’s a lifelong fan, a major donor and an executive who has successfully managed numerous businesses.

Tyra’s current challenge, in a job that is likely to become permanent in March, may well be his biggest ever, maintaining a program that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two decades. Restoring confidence won’t be easy for a fan base that has been brought to its knees by the scandals involving the school’s administration, a premier basketball program, and abrupt dismissals of popular employees.

The job is made even more difficult with the absence of open leadership from J. David Grissom, the Trustee Chairman, who seemingly operates in a vacuum. Grissom keeps everyone guessing about his goals for the University, either believing people will inherently trust him and assume that he knows what’s best for the school. That hasn’t worked out well for Grissom, with some observers suspicious of his motives and apprehensive about his real leadership qualities.

Doubtful he would have taken the job if he thought there was an agenda to diminish Louisville athletics.

Tyra, on the other hand, is candid when it comes to addressing the issues and his aspirations for the athletic department. Noting that the recent dismissal of three key employees, including Mark Jurich, was aimed at reducing costs and making the department more efficient. He also took a $350,000 decrease in salary, putting him more in line with other athletic directors in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

He also took advantage of the press conference to clarify that the expansion of the football stadium would add 6,000 seats instead of 10,000 as publicized for the last three years. It was an admission directly addressing what could have become another embarrassing issue later. A get the facts, deal with them publicly, put them in the past approach.

As for UofL remaining competitive, Tyra has taken steps to ensure stability in the coaching ranks, extending the contracts of Soccer Coach Ken Lolla for five years, Women’s Soccer Coach Karen Ferguson-Deyes for two more years, and Volleyball Coach Dani Busboom Kelly for another year. He will, however, wait until the end of the basketball season before making a decision about that position.

One gets the impression that Tyra is in total charge of the athletic department. He is not looking over his shoulder, worried about either Grissom or Interim President Greg Postel. Doubtful he would have taken the job if he thought there was an agenda to diminish Louisville athletics.

If there is a concern, it would be that Tyra is more of a business person than a people person. Unlike his predecessor, he will never win people over with his love for the University, but selling them on the school from a business perspective.

Tom Jurich’s approach worked well, moving UofL out of the shadows of the also-rans into national contenders in so many different sports. He built all the necessary facilities, enlarged the fan base, and greatly enhanced the brand name. His low-key approach worked well in gaining friends and supporters of the program.

Tyra doesn’t have to concern himself about building new facilities, and the fan base has been so strong. He  can focus on maintaining and building upon what has been accomplished. But first, he must go about earning the confidence of fans and donors and restoring faith in the leadership of the athletic department. He seems well on his way those objectives. Not there yet, but getting there.