UofL says Crum and Griffith were personally informed

Recently Card Game posted a blog regretting that Denny Crum and Darrell Griffith had been dismissed by the University of Louisville via email after years of service. We believed the information about the email portion was correct, picking it up from a posting by a writer we greatly respect. However, we received the following from John Karman, media relations director at UofL:

Upon his retirement from coaching, Denny Crum was given a 15-year, $338,000-per year contract to continue as a goodwill ambassador for the university. Working with the president and University Advancement, Coach Crum performed in this role through the contract’s end on June 30, 2016. He then continued working for the university with pay but without a contract. Interim President Greg Postel met with Coach Crum in February and allowed his employment to continue through this June to enable a smooth transition to retirement.

Darrell Griffith’s position, along with those of several other employees in the University Advancement unit, was eliminated as part of a reduction in force plan. Mr. Griffith’s supervisor met with him and informed him in person that his position was being cut.

Neither Coach Crum nor Mr. Griffith was dismissed via email.

Coach Crum and Mr. Griffith have earned a special place in the history of Cardinal Athletics, and both will always be valued members of the UofL family.

John Karman, media relations director, University of Louisville

Someone dropped the ball in farewell to Denny Crum

Apparently someone at the University of Louisville thought it was okay to  to terminate employment contracts with Denny Crum and Darrell Griffith, two individuals who have engendered tons of goodwill and donations for the school over decades.

Denny Crum celebrating his 80th birthday party last year (Charlie Springer photo).

He or she chose to do it in the most impersonal way possible, informing Crum and Griffith by email that UofL was cutting them loose.

Letting them go. Firing them.  By email.

No one bothering to meet with them personally or giving them a phone call. Had Crum or Griffith not bother to check their emails, they might still be wondering what happened.

No one in their right mind, no one with any sensibility for human feelings, no one with any respect for what these men have done for an institution treats people like this. Knowing how much Crum and Griffith love the school, they would be promoting the school whether they were getting paid or not.

Darrell Griffith was a “Living Legend” while leading UofL to its first NCAA title in 1980.

Crum, the former UofL basketball coach, has been employed by the school for 46 years. He had an office in the UofL Alumni Department, assisting in fundraising efforts. Griffith, of course, led Louisville to its first NCAA basketball championship in 1980. He worked in the advancement department as director of community relations.

Word of the terminations following news that the former UofL basketball coach had been hospitalized with a light stroke. The timing could not have come at a more inopportune time.

Maybe, in the midst of the school’s recent financial challenges, someone in power felt that Crum and Griffith were expendable, that their accomplishments were a long time ago. That they were no longer as great as they once were, that it was time to move on.

The decision coming several months after 800 people attended Denny Crum’s 80th birthday celebration at the Ramada Plaza & Convention Center. That event and other fundraising efforts culminating in $600,000 in donations to the University of Louisville.

The person responsible for decision may have felt there was no other option. The school may have needed to save money, requiring UofL to reduce “non-essential” staff. Supporters of the school and people who recognize good business practices could maybe appreciate that. But breaking the news to them by impersonal emails is not acceptable.

Just another PR disaster in a long line of them over the past several months, coming on the heels of efforts by some members of the current Board of Trustees to seek legal action against former administrators. It’s almost as if some of these actions are being taken to put the University in the worst light possible.

Denny and Darrell deserve better, as do UofL’s many fans and supporters throughout the community.

Peck can relax, Louisville finally surpasses WKU

Peck Hickman would have derived a lot of satisfaction from the University of Louisville basketball team’s 78-56 win over Western Kentucky University on Saturday, finally giving UofL a 40-39 lead in the all-time series.

Peck Hickman
Peck Hickman

Louisville hasn’t enjoyed an advantage since 1932 when it lost to WKU by a lopsided 37-14 score in Bowling Green. Over the next 12 years, Western Kentucky would be totally dominant, winning 20 of 22 games. WKU owned a 25-6 edge in the rivalry by 1944.

That was the year UofL would hire Hickman, a former four-year player at WKU, to be its first head basketball coach. He would lose his first game that season to WKU but win the second. He would go on to win six of the next seven games to end Western Kentucky’s dominance. Hickman, however, was 12-14 against the Hilltoppers when he retired in 1967.

Denny Crum, of course, owned an overwhelming edge, winning 12 consecutive games between 1974 and 1990. His teams beat Western 14 times while losing only twice to them.

Rick Pitino, who assumed the reins in 2001, has been credited with eight wins in nine games, indicated after the most recent win that he would like to continue the rivalry which began in 1926.

 

Denny Crum, Joe Hall want to continue radio show

A decade ago, the Joe B and Denny Show on WKRD Radio was a big hit with local sports fans, providing an opportunity for them to hear debate on issues. That, of course, was before ESPN-680 and a couple of other radio stations wised up to the ratings value.

Now University of Louisville fans can catch up on their favorite athletic program on different stations throughout the day. UK fans as well.

Denny Crum and Joe Hall
Denny Crum and Joe Hall

Twitter was abuzz Thursday evening with reports that the Joe B and Denny Show was coming to an end. Those reports may have been premature.

Joe Hall, the former University of Kentucky basketball coach, and Denny Crum, his counterpart at UofL, have been doing the show for 10 years. Hall broadcasting from WVLK in Lexington, and Crume behind the microphone at WKRD in Louisville. While their primary focus is on the state’s two leading programs, they also discussed a lot of other issues, and spend a lot of time talking about hunting and fishing. On Friday, they were discussing the deer and bear populations in Kentucky.

WKRD employees received an email from station management Thursday that the show would end next week because WVLK is changing formats and was terminating its arrangement with the coaches.

Kelly Carls, the controversial program manager for Clear Channel stations in Louisville, told the Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach that he wanted to continue the relationship. “We’ve got a 10-year relationship with the coaches now and loved every minute of it,” Carls said. “So it’s basically up to them how long they want to do the show.”

The coaches have said they want to continue the show, which is also broadcast on other stations in the state, including WKU Public Radio in Bowling Green. Lexington has two other AM stations and nine FM stations so there would appear to be some viable options in parts of the state that worship anything UK blue.

Hopefully the show will continue. Their folksy, down home approach is  at least an alternative to some of the biased and argumentative approaches of other shows.

 

UofL fan John Ramsey joins ESPN 680 lineup

John Ramsey
John Ramsey

John Ramsey, a longtime local radio personality and comedian, has joined the ESPN 680 radio lineup. He’s a staunch University of Louisville fan with the knowledge of the local sports scene to quickly become a force.

He’s going to provide a strong counter-punch to Matt Jones, the biased University of Kentucky fan, blogger and commentator, who delights as much in disparaging UofL athletics as he does in covering UK sports.

One difference is that Ramsey, a Ballard grad, actually played sports, including football and track. And he’s knowledgeable, with a quick wit and a wide assortment of skills

Ramsey strongly favors UofL even though he was once a member of UK’s track team. “What I didn’t like was the whole elitist thing with UK where they didn’t want to play UofL for so many years, like they were so far above us,” he said Monday on his 10 a.m. radio show. “It’s all about relationships with me. I got to know UofL coaches like Denny Crum, Howard Schnellenberger and other coaches over the years, and I’m a UofL fan.”

Among Ramsey’s considerable talents are his skills as an impressionist, often mimicking Howard Schnellenberger, Muhammad Ali and the late Howard Cosell. He had the hosts in stitches  on ESPN’s Early Birds show with a recent Schnelly call-in. Ramsey and Ali are, in fact, close friends. Watch for his exposure to quickly expand at ESPN.

He continues to host WAVE 3 Listens Live daily at noon on TV, and has worked for several local radio stations over the last 15 years.  He also is vice president of marketing and government affairs for the Ali Center and has worked in sports marketing at UofL. He also has performed at the Comedy Caravan.

Here’s a link to his version of the Big Blue Post Game Show.