Coaches Can’t Win Too Many

[stextbox id=”custom”]The more teams win, the greater the demands.

Indiana University has fired soccer coach Mike Freitag, despite an impressive record at the Bloomington school. He compiled an amazing 74-22-18 record at IU, including a national championship in 2004, his first season.

Freitag’s 12-10-1 mark this season was reason enough to sack him for IU athletic director Fred Glass, now searching for a replacement to carry on a tradition that includes six other national titles.

Advice to Glass: Leave Louisville’s Ken Lolla alone. He’s busy developing a national contender at U of L. And his boss knows the difference between a winner and a loser.


Happy Thanksgiving U of L Fans

by Sonja Sykes

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, this time of year gives us an opportunity to reflect on the many things for which University of Louisville fans can be thankful. Here is a brief list of the things that give us reason:

  • Jeff Walz and the Lady Cards. A trip to the final four, the excellent play of Angel McCoughtry and the encouraging start to the 2009-10 season. The electric atmosphere in Freedom Hall for games is something you need to experience.
  • Rick Pitino and the men’s team. A trip to the regional finals and good times in Indy. A new team that has 10 guys that may not have the NBA draft status of T-Will and Earl, will give Cardinal fans plenty to get excited about in the upcoming season. An exciting mix of the new and old, and a coach that can get it done.
  • Dan McDonnell and the baseball team. The fun involved with watching Chris Dominguez, the tight pitching staff and another run at Omaha is a blessing and another dynasty in Cardinal athletics is evident.
  • Tom Jurich for the coaches he has hired, the wise decision making he has displayed and the patience to make a studied and informed decision on the future of a particular program that needs some changes.
  • A football team that produced and developed some exciting playmakers. Trent Guy, Scott Long, Vic Anderson, Darius Ashley and my defensive heroes gave me a reason to go and cheer, despite the dismal season results.
  • Leonard Yelin and the overachieving volleyball team. Learning and growing as the season progressed, they were the best in the Big East tournament and will play in the NCAA Championships.
  • Ken Lolla and the men’s soccer team. Another Big East trophy to put in the showcase and the promise of more things to be grateful about next year.
  • Pam Bustin and the field hockey team. Perennial top 10 rankings and a stellar performance from a young and rebuilding squad. Another sport you need to go out and watch life. You’ll be thankful that you did.
  • Sandy Pearsall and women’s softball. The Lady Bat Cards are building a roster that is second to none in the Big East and play in the best facilities in the Big East, if not the nation.
  • Track and field, women’s soccer, swimming, golf, all nationally competitive, too. Lacrosse coming on. That’s what happens when you start a list, wow.

Finally, a thank you to all those involved with this site. Whether a contributor, observer or occasional guest, you make the show here and we thank you for your wise council, excellent columns and comments and discussion that far outshine any other Cardinal sports site on the Internet.

May the joy of the Thanksgiving season, time with friends and family and reflection on all the things we can truly give thanks for fill your heart with happiness and cheer your hours during this holiday season.

The Waiting Game Continues

No word of any preemptive news conferences this week so Tom Jurich is apparently keeping his word about waiting until after the season to make any pronouncements about Steve Kragthorpe’s future at the University of Louisville.

Actually, Jurich said he would “evaluate” after the season.  But his mind was set several weeks ago. So why wait? The delay only postpones the inevitable firing.

If Jurich has already picked a successor, the obvious reason not to name a quick replacement to Kragthorpe is that the next coach has another game or two on the schedule. No smart coach would want to hit his current players over the head with bad news until the season is done.

An early announcement of a firing, however, would be tremendous from a U of L fan’s perspective, giving one reason for hope and plenty of motivation to attend the 11 a.m. game against Rutgers this Friday.

But that’s not going to happen, and there will be a crappy turnout for the seniors. Just more ammo for Jurich when he meets with Kragthorpe to communicate why the dismissal is essential.

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Belated Happy Birthday wishes to Kenny Klein, sports information director, who turned one year older Saturday. Nice gift, that reported Lexus from Coach Rick Piino.

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Tise is back. Chauntise Wright, the big 6-foot-3 center for the Lady Cards, is rounding back into shape. Finally. She was a  force, tossing in 15 points and grabbing four rebounds in 16 minutes in U of L’s 85-54 win over Tennessee Tech. See Sonja’s account here.

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The Volley Cards are back, too, eliminating Notre Dame and Cincinnati over the weekend to win their third Big East Tournament in five years.  Big East Freshman of the Year Lola Arslanbekova racked up a conference record 25 kills.

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Ken Lolla’s soccer team is gone, falling short of expectations, dropping a 2-0 decision in NCAA tourney action to Indiana University, a team U of L had drubbed 4-0 two weeks ago.

Louisville Soccer Gets 10th Shutout

[stextbox id=”custom”] soccerJump on the bandwagon time for University of Louisville soccer, which Wednesday notched its 10th shutout of the season with a 4-0 win over 25th-ranked Indiana University at Cardinal Park.  U of L is ranked 8th and 11th in national soccer polls with a 10-2-2 won-lost-tied record.

The team is coached by Ken Lolla, whose stated goal is to bring a national collegiate championship to Belknap Campus. The squad returns to action Saturday, hosting Rutgers at 7 p.m. at Cardinal Park.

That U of L goalie is Andea Boudreaux from New Orleans, and he’s only a sophomore.

A Christmas Wish List

A letter to Santa Claus and a Christmas wish list for University of Louisville atheltics

By Sonja Sykes

Dear Santa Claus,

I hope you’ve noticed I’ve been a really good girl this year (Okay, forget the Pittsburgh trip and the infield on Oaks Day) and I’d like for you to grant some wishes for me and my buddies down at the University of Louisville. I’ll leave a big plate of white macadamia nut cookies and egg nog under the tree, and something to “spike” it up a bit, if you want. Say “Hi” to Mrs. Claus and the reindeer, and the cute elves for me, and stay warm Christmas Eve!

For the UofL football team: A winning season and a bowl trip next season. An injury-free season for Vic, Doug, Trent and Scott and maybe a few moments of peace and quiet for Mr. Kragthorpe.

For the UofL men’s basketball team: A Big East title (regular season and conference) and a trip to the NCAA Final Four. Maybe a national title, too? Maybe tickets for me and friends to attend? Give T-Will lots of chances to dunk, Earl a ton of “Mississippi-like” games, Samardo the freshman of the Year award and give me two guards that will get it done.

For the Lady Cards basketball team: A Player of the Year award for Angel McCoughtry, a Big East title, a trip to the NCAA Final Four and maybe they could win it all, too? Tickets for that, too…if you will.  Give Tise a healthy knee, the frosh a great first year, and Jeff Walz Coach of the year. See you at Pack The House?

For the UofL baseball team: Another trip to the Omaha World Series, a batting title for Chris Dominguez, full stands for every home game and strong pitching and great hitting!

For the men’s soccer team: Make Ken Lolla’s prediction of an NCAA title come true.

For the women’s field hockey team: A ton of wins and titles, too. For Pam Bustin, the best record ever and lots of good freshmen to continue the success she’s had. I’d ask for just one more year of eligibility for me, but
I’d need those twenty-year-old legs and stamina again, if that were possible.

For Leonard Yelin and his volleyball team: Lots of tall girls who can spike, dig, serve and block.  Maybe an NCAA Championship game or two or three, and a full arena for each home game.

For Tom Jurich: Unprecdented success for all his teams, more donors and funding and less whiners and gripers. Successful completion of the football stadium expansion and basketball arena would be nice, too.  For his staff and coaches, raises across the board!

I know I’m asking for a lot here, Mr. Claus but I believe in the magic of Christmas and that if you wish upon a star all your dreams can come true. I hope I’m on your “nice” list, and you can deliver all the things on my list. If not, I won’t complain. Just do everything you can, and keep wearing that Cardinal Red.

PS: Could you leave switches in all UK fans stockings?  They’ve been awfully naughty to UofL fans this year. Honest!  Okay, I guess they should get a few gifts; it is Christmas, after all. Maybe some autographed Rick Pitino pictures? …Tee hee!

Your pal,