Stadium Expansion Wheels Are Turning

Vision. Imagination. Confidence.

These are unquestioned characteristics of members of the Papa John’s Stadium Expansion Committee, each successful in many separate endeavors. They want the University of Louisville athletic program to think big, exceed expectations. They are not dreamers, they are realists. When they decide to do something, they expect it to happen.

The committee includes many of the same folks behind the transformation occurring in downtown Louisville. Name it, and one or more individuals on this committee has been involved — the new U of L Basketball Arena, Museum Plaza, Fourth Street Live , all the new condominiums, offices and construction on Main Street, the new hotels, the Louisville Bats and Slugger Field. Too numerous to list all of them.

So it was significant when the committee voted unanimously in support of Tom Jurich’s recommendation to approve the stadium design, which will raise stadium seating capacity to 63,000. Now comes the next step, putting their personal and corporate clout and energies behind the project. They know you can’t be deterred by temporary setbacks, that you have to look beyond those, and do what is necessary to ensure that success is inevitable.

The project still needs the approval of U of L Athletic Committee and the U of L Board of Trustees, not to mention the go-ahead of the Kentucky General Assembly. It’s not a freight train yet, but the wheels are turning.

A salute to committee members: Larry Benz, Jonathan Blue, Mike Brown, Kevin Covan, Mike Curtain, Larry Hayes, Bob Koetter, Jr., Chris Sternberg, Jim Patterson II, Bruce Perkins, Steve Poe, Sam Rechter, Dan Ulmer and Will Wolford. They deserve the red carpet treatment when the expanded stadium becomes a reality in 2010.

Monday Morning Memos

To Lee Corso: Predict that West Virginia will win the football game. Please. (Nobody can remember the last time he correctly predicted a Louisville game.)

To fans going to theaters to see the game: Take your own candy and popcorn. Movie concessions are more expensive than Papa John’s. (There’s a Walgreen’s directly across from Stonybrook.)

To Steve Kragthorpe:
Game plan should include Bilal Powell early and often in the first half. (No late game cameos.)

To Charlie Stubbs: Get the plays into Brian Brohm faster. Send Bilal Powell in with the plays. (He’s a good ball carrier, too.)

To the U of L Band Director: Watch how the Mountaineer band responds to game situations, and how the crowd feeds off the band. (They don’t have a cheerleader doing a monologue before the game either.)

To the guy who plays the boogie videos: They don’t play boogie music at Morgantown when the home team is behind. Not in good taste. (You’ll never live that one down.)

Darius Ashley Watch

Darius Ashley continues to dazzle fans and opposing defenses in the Queen City. The Louisville football signee rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns Saturday evening in leading Cincinnati St. X to an easy 45-14 win over Cincinnati Elder in the first round of the Division One Ohio state high school playoffs — a convincing victory over a powerful rival.

Ashley has rushed for 1,014 yards and 12 touchdowns in seven games; he missed three games early on because of an ankle injury. He has had back-to-back 200-yard games, after rushing for 205 yards and a TD in last week’s 28-14 win over Cincinnati Moeller in the regular season finale. Cincinnati Enquirer

U of L Postage Stamps

Did you know you can buy official U.S. postage stamps featuring the University of Louisville logo or with the Old English “L”? I sure didn’t know. Other schools, including the West Virginia Mountaineers, are also available Click on the stamp ad (the one with the baby’s face at right) for details. Put them on invoices or Christmas cards to UK fans!

Got A Passport Yet?

Fans who have grown accustomed to following U of L to bowl games might want to be applying for or renewing passports just in case. If the Cards win a sixth game, there is a distinct possibility Louisville could be invited to the International Bowl in Toronto, Canada on Jan. 6. This will be the second year for the bowl, which features teams from the Big East and Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC). Hey, a bowl is a bowl. And, yes, passports are definitely required. Don’t know what to make of the Notre Dame fight song playing on the International Bowl web site. Notre Dame (1-8) is not going to a bowl.

On The Silver Screen: The U of L-West Virginia football game will be one of the feature presentations Thursday evening at the Stonybrook Cinema de Lux and the Preston theaters. Admission is $8.75 for adults, $6 for seniors and children, plus a $1 service charge. The presentation has an “NR” rating, which means it might be offensive to some folks. Order tickets here. Nice to see some creative approaches being applied. Now if U of L can get some cheerleaders and Lady Birds to the theater (Seem to be dozens of cheerleaders; all of them aren’t going Morgantown, are they?), it will add to the big game atmosphere.

Attended the U of L-West Virginia volleyball clash Friday, watching the Lady Cards trump the Mountaineers in three games, 30-20, 30-28 and 30-21 — setting the tone for “Beat West Virginia” week. The women, with two players standing 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-6 are an attractive but intimidating team. They are undefeated after 11 matchups in the Big East, and will face Pittsburgh Sunday at 2. All games are officially sold out but standing room tickets are available for $5.