Courier-Journal suffers major blow with losses of Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich

I’ve often wondered whether the publication would survive without them. Now we’re about to find out.

During all the recent personnel cutbacks at the Courier-Journal in recent years, the management always recognized the value of sports columnists Eric Crawford and Rich Bozich, with their years of experience and insight into the local sports scene. They were close to being indispensable.

The C-J announced Monday that Crawford and Bozich are both leaving to accept positions at WDRB TV. Huge blow, a double whammy for the company, losses from which the newspaper won’t soon recover.

Sports fans will lose, too. TV coverage, because of time constraints, will never ever provide the depth and breadth of print media. The two will probably enhance WDRB’s Internet presence but who wants to turn on a computer before consuming the sports news with their bacon and eggs.

Crawford, in particular, is among the best ever at C-J, which has had some exceptional writers. Like Dave Kindred, one of his noted predecessors, he is blessed with an intellect to examine highly complex issues, ably sharing his knowledge. As a result, his readers are better informed than the average sports fan. I’ve never sensed any bias when it comes to issues involving either the universities of Louisville or Kentucky. He seems to care deeply for both of them, wanting them to succeed.

Bozich is as much a reporter as a columnist, more of an analyst than a provider of solutions. I’ve never sensed any special affection for either university, covering them equally and objectively, depending on the issue, as any journalism professional would approach the task. This is the approach in a recent column that enabled him to deal effectively with the back and forth pettiness between John Calipari and Rick Pitino.

For me, most of the stories in the sports section get a glimpse and a quick turn of the page, unless they are U of L related. But the columns of Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich were must reading. They have always been responsive to readers as well, open and generous with their feedback, especially Crawford.

Their leaving says much about the state of Louisville’s daily newspaper.

Eric Crawford blog

Kyle Kuric is not indestructible

First play of practice, a warmup drill.

Even the seemingly invincible Kyle Kuric is not immune to the injury plague affecting the University of Louisville basketball team.

Kuric has had more than his share of knocks during games this season, causing U of L fans to hold their collective breath on numerous occasions. But he has always bounced right back into action, postponing the inevitable.

The law of averages finally caught up with the 6-foot-4 senior forward on Thursday. He will miss the DePaul game, status is day-to-day.

“Without him, we don’t have many substitutes so we’re going to have to play smart,” said Rick Pitino.

*     *     *

Pitino took advantage of an opportunity at his Friday press conference to respond to charges that he may be overworking his players and suggestions that he should lighten up.

Among the people making them was Denny Crum, former U of L coach.

Without mentioning anyone by name, Pitino said that because of all the injuries this year’s team hasn’t been able to pratice hard much of the time. “When people make these statements, it not only hurts the image of recruiting. We don’t go any harder than Marquette, we don’t go any harder than Villanova, we don’t work any harder than anybody else.”

Apparently even former coaches, who have been subjected to mass fan attacks themselves, can’t resist getting in on the act. Something about talk shows.

*    *    *

Wayne Blackshear is back at practice, and Pitino has never considered redshirting him. “It’s possible to redshirt him, but I don’t know what that would do for our team.” Pitino obviously wants everything he can get from Blackshear, even though it could take a while for him to get accustomed to the college game.

A major plus if he’s there by tournament time. The NBA draft comes shortly thereafter.

*    *    *

The observer always shudders when there is a “team meeting,” as there was this week. Chris Smith, co-captain, said the team met without the coaches “and pretty much resolved the problem.”

“The problem was the lack of confidence in each other and having each other’s back. When you know somebody doesn’t have your back, you’re not going to bat for them. We had a great practice yesterday, everybody gelled together and we’re back on track now.”

That was quick, Let’s hope there’s no need for any more team meetings. More than one is too many.

You Go, Bozich

[stextbox id=”custom”]The observer is not about to knee jerk Rick Bozich’s analysis that Bobby Petrino had much to do with the rapid decline of Louisville football. Writers like Bozich have a great deal of access to the program. They also recognize the bounds of personal restraint within the athletic department and the tremendous challenges of privacy laws.

Common sense tells you that an individual who is contantly looking for other jobs doesn’t have your best interests in mind. The short-sighted Petrino failed to recognize he was sitting on a potential gold mine in Louisville.

Don’t even try to turn this into a defense of Steve Kragthorpe. Just another deserved jab at old steely face in Fayetteville.
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