ACC initiation ceremony beckons Louisville football against Miami

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Welcome to the Atlantic Coast Conference. For real.

A new era begins Monday night for University of Louisville athletics, the first conference game ever in the ACC for any University of Louisville team in any sport. Appropriate that it would be in football because it was the sport that drove conference realignment, unprecedented changes in the college landscape making it possible for UofL to be on the main stage.

Lots of celebrating and self-congratulating over the past summer and the last year or so, punctuated by the demolition of massive silos, an impressive expansion of student housing, academic facilities and an ever-changing campus landscape. Louisville belongs, a member of the big boy club, welcomed with open arms by the respected members of the prestigious ACC.

'The aggressive approach has always worked well for Petrino in football, just as it turned out spendidly for Tom Jurich in the larger chess game of conference realignment.'

Now it’s time to get down to business.

While UofL’s first game against Miami is accompanied by the enthusiasm of the return of Coach Bobby Petrino and his aggressive offensive philosophy, there is lots of uncertainty to go around. A complete turnover in the coaching staff brings with it a learning curve, new plays, new ways of doing things, new offensive and defensive alignments, new officiating crews — items that often require periods of adjustment.

Then, of course, there’s the absence of DeVante Parker, the team’s leading receiver, and questions surrounding the availability of Michael Dyer, who was expected to back at full force until he suffered an severe bruised thigh. Some untested newcomers on the offensive and defensive lines.

Lot of questions from fans, serious challenges for the coaches, the kind of stuff Petrino relishes, why he thrives on being a football coach. Petrino has indicated that he liked what he inherited and has alleviated some of the shortcomings. If he’s optimistic, who’s to question him?

At 8 p.m. on Labor Day, the captains of the Cardinals and the Hurricanes will meet with the officials on the 50-yard line for the coin toss. The only thing for sure is that Louisville will get the ball first. If UofL wins the coin toss, it will choose to receive. If Miami wins, it will defer until the second half, not wanting to test its freshman quarterback too early, going on defense. Bobby Petrino always wants the ball first.

The aggressive approach has always worked well for Petrino in football, just as it turned out spendidly for Tom Jurich in the larger chess game of conference realignment. The challenges are huge, dwarfing some of those from the past with UofL overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles time after time to get to where it is today.

Welcome to the ACC where anything is possible.

What’s next for Kevin Miller at UofL?

Kevin MIller (left) with Tom Jurich and James Ramsey at the ACC press conference.
Kevin Miller (left) with Tom Jurich and James Ramsey at the ACC press conference.

Will Kevin Miller, who has been one of Tom Jurich’s key financial assistants, throw his hat in the ring for consideration for the new post of Chief Financial Officer being created by the University of Louisville?

Miller is currently Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director in the athletics department and has been deeply involved in the financial planning that has seen UofL’s athletic budget increase from $14 million to nearly $90 million under Jurich’s leadership.

A native of Lebanon Junction, Miller is often in close proximity to Jurich when major decisions on new capital projects are announced. He was, in fact, seated next to his boss on the front row at the press conference making UofL’s entry into the ACC official last week.

Kevin worked 11 years in the UofL controller’s office prior to joining the athletic department. He served in various capacities with the University Credit Union, including six years as a member of the union’s board of directors.

Miller has had many rewarding moments working with Jurich with his involvement in so many major advances over the years. He would has to be wondering if he wanted to give all that up for what would be a major career advancement.

 

Summer in a hurry as Louisville readies for ACC

Summer is going to move along pretty quickly now that the University of Louisville is officially in the ACC. Next thing you know the football Cardinals will be lining up against Miami University in the season opener. The next couple of months are going to be busy ones for everyone associated with the program, including the fans.

  • Apparently there will be no Cardinal Caravan this summer or we would have already have the dates and locations. The ACC celebration at Fourth Street Live more than made up for absence of the popular gatherings. No attendance numbers have been announced but there were probably between 7,000 and 9,000 people at the event.
  • Tom Jurich is reported to have three different sets of plans for the expansion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on his desk. When asked about them Tuesday, all he would say is “We’re working on it.” His expression, however, indicated that he is gung ho about the expansion and is doing his thing, putting the parts in place. Twelve thousand additional seats in the north end zone would put stadium capacity at 67,000. Just sayin’.
  • TJ probably wants to first announce the start date for the new academic center at the south end of the stadium. Probably wasn’t a coincidence that he gave ACC Commissioner John Swofford a special Maker’s Mark bottle during the ACC celebration. Maker’s Mark has already had two special bottles for Charlie Strong and Rick Pitino. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t hear about one featuring the new ACC logo soon, possibly coinciding with target date announcement for construction.
  • The athletic department badly needs to do something to improve the radio broadcast situation for UofL baseball with the entry into the ACC. WNDA-1570 does a great job with Sean Moth, but unfortunately just doesn’t have a strong enough signal. WKRD-790 tied up with the Louisville Bats, WKLO-1080 is tied to UK, ESPN-680 has signal problems, too, and WHAS, the logical choice, is out for other reasons. Time to start looking at FM options. Everybody has FM these days. We need a quality signal.
  • The UofL rowing team just hired Robbie Tenenbaum, the head rowing coach at Clemson, as an assistant. During five seasons there, Tenenbaum had four All-Americans, five first team All-South Region rowers and eleven rowers named All-ACC.

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ACC academics equally important for UofL

Shirley Willihnganz, executive vice president and provost at the University of Louisville, reminds us that UofL’s entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference is about much more than sports, providing vast potential for academic growth. The faculty and staff got together Tuesday at the Brown & Williamson Club to toast the occasion.