Andy Beshear favors discord at University of Louisville

UofLIf there were any doubts about former Governor Steve Beshear’s destructive tendencies toward the University of Louisville, they were erased by his son Andy Beshear, the state’s Attorney General.

The baby-faced AG announced Wednesday that he would be filing a lawsuit in an attempt to rescind the executive order issued by Gov. Matt Bevin dissolving the UofL Board of Trustees. The younger Beshear, like his father, obviously had no problem with the gridlock on the board.

Apparently the discord would be more preferable to the Beshears, bringing back the old board, with a handful of obstructionists, a group with no ties to UofL, and no interest in cooperating with the current administration, to inflict further harm on the good name of the university.

The Beshear lawsuit only serves to underscore why Gov. Bevin had to take the dramatic step of dismissing the old board. It’s a delaying tactic, intended to create further chaos at UofL.

Andy Beshear is out of order, and way out of line. A chip off the old block.

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Meanwhile, good news. Jim Ramsey is apparently back in his office in the Grawemeyer Building for now, keeping on keeping on, issuing the following memo to the campus community:

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Junior Bridgeman right man at right time for UofL

Junior Bridgeman
Junior Bridgeman

What can Junior Bridgeman be expected to accomplish over the next couple of weeks as chairman of the transition team at the University of Louisville?

Just being the man is probably enough for now.

Bridgeman inspires confidence among alumni and long-time supporters of the University of Louisville that the future school is in competent hands. No question about his loyalty to the school or about any conceivable political conflicts.

Many of the problems on the former board stemmed from members who had no ties to UofL, seemingly appointed by a former Governor (Steve Beshear) to create obstacles for President Jim Ramsey.

When he dissolved the board, Gov. Bevin said he wanted the new board to be composed of people “who will look out for the best interests of the University.” He couldn’t have selected anyone who fits the mold better than Junior Bridgeman.

Bridgeman has been a generous supporter of the University since he graduated from UofL in 1975.  He majored in psychology and played basketball at UofL before going to the NBA and playing for the Milwaukee Bucks for 11 seasons.

Along the way he amassed a fortune by investing in fast food chains and his net worth is currently estimated between $250 million and $400 million. He has served on both the UofL board and the UofL Foundation and is familiar with where the school has been and what’s been accomplished.

Gov. Bevin said he hopes Bridgeman’s name will be on the list of nominees submitted by the Council on Post-Secondary Education in a week or so.

Bridgeman has always been a winner, the perfect choice to lead UofL out of the fog that had enveloped the University in recent months.

Sen. McConnell: Ramsey best UofL President ever

Mitch McConnell should know.
Mitch McConnell should know.

Senator Mitch McConnell has gone on record praising Jim Ramsey for dramatic improvements at the University of Louisville, indicating that he hopes the new board will consider keeping him.

 McConnell also said he concurred with the action taken by Gov. Matt Bevin to dismiss the current Board of Trustees to give the board a fresh start. He made the remarks in an interview with WDRB News.

 “U of L is dramatically better off for having had Jim Ramsey,” McConnell said. “If he does end up leaving, he’s already been the best president of UofL in history.”

Jim Ramsey basks in vote of confidence from UofL faculty

Jim Ramsey stays on course.
Jim Ramsey stays on course.

He’s not out of the woods yet, but there appears to be a clearer path ahead for Jim Ramsey.

Ramsey has received a nice boost from the Faculty Senate in a confidence vote on his ability to provide effective leadership at the University of Louisville. The Faculty Senate, an officially-recognized governance group for faculty members, voted 55% in favor of Ramsey as opposed to 40% against him. The remaining 5% abstained from voting.

The outcome indicates that Ramsey continues to enjoy strong support from the academic community, the people who interact with the UofL President on a daily basis. Finally given a chance to weigh in on the issue, a clear majority endorsed him.

“In politics, these numbers would be called a landslide,” wrote former UofL Board Chairman Bob Hughes on his Facebook page.

The outcome is the latest in a series of positive initiatives on behalf of Ramsey, including a full-page ad from supporters in the Courier-Journal and an online petition that includes the names of more than 450  people.

Some interesting names on that list, including Senator Mitch McConnell, Board Members Bob Benson, Ron Butt, Bruce Henderson and Bob Hughes, Vice President of Athletics Tom Jurich, and UofL Coaches Ken Lolla and Sandy Pearsall.

Governor Matt Bevin poses with Trustee Bob Hughes at a recent event. That's Trustee Bruce Henderson behind the Governor.
Governor Matt Bevin poses with Trustee Bob Hughes at a recent event. That’s UofL Trustee Bruce Henderson behind the Governor.

A scheduled no-confidence vote on April 20 by the Board of Trustees came and went without a vote. Governor Matt Bevin has yet to appoint two minority members to the board. The Governor, known for respecting Ramsey’s financial acumen, is taking his time to make the appointments.

Given the friction on the board, Gov. Bevin could best serve the University by reviewing some of ex-Gov. Steve Beshear’s appointments. Specifically he should question whether Craig Greenberg, Steve Campbell, Emily Bingham and Larry Hayes have the school’s best interests in mind. Their only objective appears to be getting rid of Ramsey.

Beshear is gone now.  Gov. Bevin may want to invite the aforementioned to submit their resignations. They are not leading and need to get out of the way.

Jurich breaks silence in a big way


The best news in a few weeks for University of Louisville fans is that Tom Jurich remains aggressive and totally committed.

With all the noxious fumes emanating from the basketball scandal and the attacks on President Jim Ramsey, the University of Louisville’s athletic director had been quiet for a while. Publicly, anyway. But he has obviously been busy behind the scenes.

Tom Jurich fully engaged.
Tom Jurich fully engaged.

Jurich broke the silence on Thursday, announcing a new seven-year contract extension for head football coach Bobby Petrino worth $30.625 million and averaging $4.375 million per season. He also updated fans on the $55 million expansion plan for Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, reporting that almost $20 million has been raised, suggesting the stadium could possibly be completed in time for the 2018 season.

He obviously recognizes the importance of a successful football program to the university’s overall image, and will continue to be aggressive in ensuring that UofL will be a contender, not only in the Atlantic Coast Conference but on the national scene as well.

UofL’s athletic program has come a long way since the late Harry Jones was able to convince Jurich to come to Louisville in 1997. Were it not for Jones’ persistence — TJ turned him down four or five times — Jurich would still be out west. Colorado State, no doubt, would be in the Power 5 conference, celebrating numerous expansions and titles, instead of the obscurity the Mountain West Conference.

All of the turbulence engulfing UofL the past several months has had to have an effect on Jurich. Two of his closest associates — Jim Ramsey and Rick Pitino — have been under constant attack.  If ever there was a time for him to consider other options, no one would have blamed him if he had chosen to do so. He had to hurt personally by the sex scandal within the basketball program and mystified at the illogical attacks on a school administrator who has done wonders for the university, rivaling what Tom has done within the athletic program.

One also has to believe that he remains as privately supportive of Ramsey as he is publicly of his basketball coach.

Back in February, however, Jurich dismissed speculation that he had any interest in a vacancy at the University of Southern California, one of the most prestigious jobs in college athletics. “People say what they want because I’m from there . . . I’m staying right where I am,” he told a local TV station.

There will always be speculation in sports, but one has every reason to believe Jurich when he says he loves the University of Louisville, calling his current position the best job in college athletics. He has made possible some tremendous highs for the school while experiencing more than his share of extreme lows at the university.

Tom Jurich obviously has even bigger plans for the university.