Time to update the UofL bucket list

Remarkable how much the University of Louisville has grown and prospered over the past two decades. If the observer had had a bucket list 20 years ago, it would have included the following items:

— An on-campus football stadium
— A new state-of-the-art basketball arena.
— Another national championship in basketball.
— Membership in one of the premier athletic conferences.UofL flag
— A new baseball stadium
— A dramatic increase in student housing, getting away from being a commuter school.
— A major beautification effort, with grand entrances to the campus.
— Significant expansion of the campus, helping to upgrade surrounding neighborhoods.
— An enhanced academic reputation.

All of these things have occurred under the leadership of James Ramsey, as President, and Tom Jurich, as Vice President of Athletics. A 55,000-seat Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, a 22,000-seat KFC Yum! Center, a 3,000-seat Jim Patterson Stadium, a third NCAA basketball title, and membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Construction is booming on and around Belknap Campus, as UofL completes the transition to a residential campus with an active student body all year round. As for academic improvement, there have been 87 UofL Fulbright award winners since 2003—more than all other Kentucky institutions combined and on par with some of the nation’s most prestigious universities.

One is tempted to be satisfied with such incredible progress for the University of Louisville. But like they say, if you’re not getting better, you are getting worse. Having achieved all that, it’s time to update the bucket list. The facilities are in place. Here’s the updated bucket list, what the observer would like to happen next:

— Win a national championship in football.
— Add at least 15,000 seats to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
— Win the College World Series in baseball.
— Win two more national championships in men’s basketball.
— Win a first national championship in women’s basketball.
— National Cancer Center designation for University Hospital.
— Host the ACC basketball tournaments (men’s and women’s) in Louisville.
— Win a national championship in soccer.
— Continue the expansion of the UofL campuses, including Belknap, the Medical Complex and on Shelbyville Road.
— Move up at least 30 spots in academic recognition on the U.S. News & World Report list.
— Permanent and significant recognition of James Ramsey and Tom Jurich on Belknap Campus.

Feel welcome to suggest additions to the observer’s bucket list.

Dog Days Arrive For Louisville Fans

Forever until September.

July only now arriving, still only one-third of the way through a record hot summer. Dog days. Boring. Not much happening in University of Louisville athletics.

Wrong.

  • Over at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, seats are still being installed at a record slow pace, at least four or five chair backs at day. Advertising panels are being added to the video scoreboard. Workers are putting finishing touches on the luxury suites, with interior decorators breathing down their necks.
  • Football players doing individual workouts. Charlie Strong awaiting test scores.  Attracting four-to-five-star transfers at a record clip.
  • At the new KFC Yum! Center, the video scoreboard is up, as well as ancillary units. Massive heating and air conditioning system nearing completion. Exterior glass being sealed. Marble flooring going down in the spacious lobby. Plush red seats being added, getting snatched up by corporations and fans as fast as they can be installed.
  • On campus, players working out, following through on individual instruction. Rick Pitino hiring new assistants, awaiting test scores and securing transfers. Meeting himself coming and going to the airport attending summer shoe camps.
  • At Jim Patterson Stadium, baseball coach Dan McDonnell is conducting youth camps, padding his salary. But he’s also keeping a wary eye on the Aug. 15th signing deadline, hoping most of the seven underclassmen and two high school recruits picked during the Major League draft are enrolled next semester.
  • Women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz is salivating over the prospects of a top five recruiting class, hoping  the chemistry is as good as the player rankings. Trying to forget all the injuries, knowing it could never be as bad as last season.
  • Tom Jurich is still breathing a sigh of relief that the Big East was untouched during the latest round of conference expansion. But he’s not waiting for the phone to ring either. Not Tom Jurich.

No sitting around for some during the dog days.