Vintage Louisville Football

Vince Gibson Spawned The Red Rage

The image of flag girls waving “Red Rage” banners for the University of Louisville band stirred memories of Vince Gibson for many veteran fans at the football opener.

Vince Gibson and Red Rage gear.
Vince Gibson and Red Rage gear.

Gibson coined the “Red Rage” phrase when he took over U of L football in 1975 to market the football program. The symbol caught on, appearing on everything from the team’s uniforms to fan gear. Even Denny Crum liked it, using the imagery with his basketball program.

A couple of years later, athletic director Dave Hart would introduce the concept of tailgating at Louisville football games. The idea took off immediately, with U of L later recognized by a national publication as one of the best tailgating programs.

Vince Gibson, the Red Rage theme and the tailgating concept couldn’t have converged at a better time. The NCAA’s football powers, in 1977, voted to split into two divisions — Division 1A for schools averaging more than 17,000 fans, and Division 1AA for everybody else.

Louisville would make the cut for Division 1A in 1978, with an average attendance of just over 19,790 per game.

Gibson left after the 1979 season and a won-lost record of 25-29-2 for the head coaching job at Tulane, where he would coach for three seasons. He resides now in New Orleans where he was in the travel industry for several years. Earlier this year, he attended a reunion with Bobby Bowden at South Georgia College where they began their football coaching careers together.

Bobby Knight Just Fades Away

Apparently Bobby Knight was just tired, couldn’t stand to coach another game at Texas Tech. Just a couple of months after signing a three-year contract extension. No angry outbursts, no getting in trouble for pushing or shoving someone. Not even a departing speech, at least not publicly. He just quit.

Few coaches have ignited the level of controversy that Knight generknithoodated while compiling a record 902 victories over 40 seasons. The pity is that he will be remembered as much his tirades as he was for his coaching abilities.

Those who respect Bobby Knight point to his teams’ exceptionally high graduation rates, his flawless record of NCAA compliance, three NCAA basketball championships, and an Olympic gold medal. Then there are the instances where he performed genuine acts of kindness or was extremely generous to fans of his basketball team.

Fellow coaches Denny Crum, Rick Pitino and Joe Hall have alluded to Bobby Knight’s upstanding character. Rick Barnes of the University of Texas even counted him among the great teachers. “He has affected countless numbers of people with his teachings and ideas, people he could never realize that he has touched,” said Barnes. “And that will continue in time as we pass down those teachings to future generations.”

One has to assume that Barnes was referring to basketball teachings. He fell far short in other areas of life. If you are a fellow coach, a basketball player or a fan of Indiana basketball, Bobby Knight is a great guy, a tower of strength, a beacon of humanity. Good thing he was winning all those games, huh?

Knight also set a horrible example of how not to treat people. He apparently believed his won-lost record entitled him to humiliate and belittle basketball referees, conference officials, members of the media, his own players at times. His abilities and decisions were beyond reproach, not to be questioned.

If you tuned in Texas Tech basketball, you didn’t do it to see a great master at work. A Bobby Knight outburst might occur at any second and you didn’t want to miss it. X’s and O’s will only take you so far. His public temperament betrayed him, stripping away any chance for Knight to be remembered as a good teacher or great coach for many.

Crum, Pitino Still Differ On The 3

Former Louisville basketball coach Denny Crum and current coach Rick Pitino have always had different approaches when it comes to employing the three-point shot. Don’t see either of them changing their opinions in the near future.

Still an avid fan who attends U of L home games, Crum has been reserved in his comments about Pitino, acknowledging at times that Pitino is a good coach and an excellent recruiter. But after the UConn game, which U of L lost while connecting on 11 of 33 three-point attempts, Crum could no longer restrain himself.

On his local radio show, Crum was highly critical of the number of “bad” three-point shots in recent games. While acknowledging that players should be responsible, he pointed the finger at Pitino for allowing players to get away with taking so many out-of-balance shots, suggesting that Pitino’s coaching was at fault.

Crum, it can be argued, saw a great career frizzle away because he was slow to adopt the three-pointer. This probably affected his ability to recruit good shooters in the nineties (yes, we remember Boo Brewer). Pitino, meanwhile, took great advantage of the shot while taking three schools to the Final Four and a national championship and becoming one of the most sought-after college coaches in the game.

It’s difficult to argue with Crum’s assertion that too many attempts are coming while players are not in balance and that some players should not be taking three-point shots. Crum would never have put up with it. Jeremy Hazzel, of Seton Hall, would have been sitting at the far end of the Crum’s bench [instead of collecting 29 points as he did recently in burying U of L].

Even more difficult is denying Rick Pitino’s overall success in giving players the green light to shoot the three. Pitino believes the three-pointer is the great equalizer. He encourages his players to be aggressive, not timid in shooting threes, often living and dying with his three-point philosophy.

After a loss, it is too easy to find fault with coaching philosophies, a fact with which Denny Crum should be well acquainted. Fans respect your opinion, coach, but we place even greater value on your restraint.