Football Coaching Carousel

Louisville football coach Steve Kragthorpe appears to have corralled an impressive group of assistants, with Jeff Brohm, Ron English, Ted Roof, and Ken Delgado, all with impressive career track records. Somebody once said that if you want to be a successful boss, you should hire people smarter than you. Whether that applies here is up for debate, but these coaches will sure make the boss look smarter next season.

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Anthony Allen is still looking around for a new football team today after U of L denied the request to be released from his letter of intent so he could consider Arkansas. Good. Apparently the Allen family thought U of L would seriously consider an action that would give former coach Bobby Petrino access to former recruits. Petrino must have thought so because he was undoubtedly communicating with the family. Not sneaking around, not our Bobby.

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Southern Mississippi receives this observer’s vote as a candidate for filling out U of L’s 12-game schedule next season. U of L and Southern Miss had a good rivalry going before the Cards joined the Big East. Indiana needs a game, too, but the IU administration doesn’t want a game in Bloomington where the opposition attracts more fans than the home team. Other teams needing a game include Oklahoma, Illinois, Virginia Tech and Brigham Young.

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The Lady Cards’ basketball team has lost two games in a row but the fun may just be beginning. They entertain the No. 1-ranked UConn women with a 14-0 won-loss record Saturday afternoon at 4 at Freedom Hall. It’s pack the house night for U of L. Coupons for free tickets are available at all Kroger stores in Louisville Metro. The adrenaline will be flowing, be there.


When Owsley Calls, People Listen

Every U of L fan who appreciates the phenomenal growth of the University of Louisville owes a debt of gratitude to Owsley Brown Frazier. This giant of a man has dreamed big, given generously and worked tirelessly on U of L’s behalf, always demanding and expecting excellence.

A U of L grad with two degrees and an ardent Card fan, Frazier joined the family business, Brown Forman Corp., in 1960, rising to the position of Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. Despite the demands of the business, Frazier continued to serve in a wide variety of capacities at the university, including the Board of Trustees and the Board of Overseers.

You will find his name on many academic and athletic facilities. Gifts have ranged a $350,000 donation in 1984 to the College of Business and Public Administration to $1 million in 1998 to refurbish the U of L President’s home on Longest Avenue. He has contributed well over $1 million to athletics, and was the force behind Cardinal Park, which bears his name, and also has been involved in the downtown arena project and the Papa John’s Stadium expansion. As U of L Magazine noted:

What makes Frazier such a successful fund-raiser is that he works only for causes in which he believes. He would not ask anyone else to contribute money or time to something unless he has done so himself. “My leadership style is to be a convincer, to demonstrate my own belief in a project, which makes me a more powerful salesperson,” he says.

When Owsley calls, people listen. Frazier not only gives generously but he also uses his clout to get the financial support and personal involvement of other movers and shakers. While he appreciates and supports the arts, Brown broke the mold of old-money Louisville families by also providing strong backing for U of L athletics. Name a major project at U of L, and he has probably been involved.

So this observer takes this opportunity to thank Owsley Brown Frazier for what he has done and continues to do. Equally important is what his efforts will make possible in the future. Thank you, indeed.

Thuggy Bear Thrives On Ugly

Gotta dread Thursday against West Virginia.

Louisville basketball has enjoyed a three-year reprieve from Bobby Huggins, the coach Cards fans hatec at Cincinnati, the guy the UC administration ran out of town in 2005, the same person who accepted the head basketball post at Kansas State and left after one season. The sabbatical ends this week.

Like a recurring bad dream, the bad penny that never gets spent, the bad pair of socks, Bob Huggins is back in our lives again. Seems Huggins just could not resist an offer to return to his alma mater. No surprise he’s doing well, his team off to an 11-3 start. Shocked a good Marquette team 79-64 in their last outing.

If WVU doesn’t play a bruising, smash-mouth style of basketball (e.g., Eric Hicks and company), it’s only because Huggins has yet to have a recruiting class. He likes them big and nasty, with an emphasis on intimidation. Welcome back, Bobby. It was nice not having you around.

Putting The Pieces Together, How Soon …

Not as bad as Kentucky, about even with Cincinnati, not as good as Dayton …

Before the win over UK, U of L fans would have had been deluding themselves if they gave this basketball team a five on a scale of 1 to 10. The Cards had lost to four teams they could have beaten while not looking very impressive in achieving the nine wins.

A win over Kentucky, the hated arch rival to the east — no matter how bad the Cats are — is reason enough for temporary amnesia about early season play. Beating the Wildcats on their home court, shutting up their vocal fan base, has that kind of effect.

Assuming the win over the Cats was the result of “smart play” and not driven by high levels of adrenaline, Card fans have a number of reason to believe this team can still be among the best U of L teams in a couple of decades:

  • The miraculous return of David Padgett with his leadership abilities. Padgett’s desire to play basketball is exceeded only by his will to win. He has earned his position as a leader, and his teammates are taking note.
  • Juan Palacios, if he plays like he did in Lexington, will be another stabilizing force on the front line.
  • Derrick Caracter seems to have discovered the ability to feed open teammates. That’s good because the opposition is becoming more effective in stopping him around the basket.
  • Jerry Smith is exuding confidence behind the three-point line. Knows when to shoot and when to dish.
  • Terrence Williams obviously has the physical attributes. Showed last season he can play smart and under control. That’s the form to which he needs to return.

Meanwhile, Andre McGee and Edgar Sosa need to settle into their respective roles. How soon that happens depends on how quickly Sosa comes around. Earl Clark? Quite a bit of ability but low levels of intensity thus far. If he ever becomes a team player, look out.

Reaping The Red

Always good to beat Kentucky, especially in basketball because that’s the sport that really matters to UK fans. More than 24,000 of them descended on Rupp Arena, many hoping their tradition would be enough to humble the Cards. This win was especially nice one for a number of reasons:

–Won’t have to listen UK fans crow about how much better than U of L their program is, even in a down year.

— UK fans will have to live with the loss for a year.

— U of L fans will quit arguing between themselves about whether Pitino has lost his coaching touch, at least until the Cards lose another game.

UK fans will have to read the red headlines in the Louisville and Lexington newspapers.

— Juan Palacios playing his best game since he got poked in the eye in his first game against UK three years ago.

— U of L finding a semblance of an inside game, even though David Padgett’s recuperation is an ongoing process.

— Jerry Smith pumping his chest, inhaling a major dose of confidence, scoring 17 points.