Louisville’s Katie George reigns as Miss Kentucky USA

It has happened. A University of Louisville student has been named Miss Kentucky USA.

Katie with the L sign for UofL fans.
Miss Kentucky with the L sign for University of Louisville fans.

Katie George, a junior setter on the UofL volleyball team, was selected from 17 candidates during the finale at the Ursuline Arts Center in Louisville on Sunday. The contest was her first as a beauty contestant.

Not to be confused with the Miss America competition, she’s now eligible to compete for Miss Universe against women from the other 49 states.

“I can’t tell you what just happened to me. I’ve never been in a pageant before and I’ve never worn a crown, but this is a pretty amazing feeling,” she said. “So I am excited to represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

George, who majors in communications and sports administration, was a first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference member following the 2014 season. She’s also a familiar face at UofL baseball games, working on promotional activities between innings.

She’s awarded the crown in the second half of the video:

The obvious, the curious and the missing

Contrary to popular opinion, the observer does have other demands on him besides Card Game. These include real world work concerns that sometimes require his attention for extended periods of time.

But whatever’s happening at the University of Louisville, particularly in athletics, remains a consideration. A few thoughts in passing:

  • Louisville football in a national championship game. Some pundits are going out of their way to persuade fans that Louisville doesn’t have a shot because of a “weak” schedule. UofL’s participation has always been a long shot. The sniping about the schedule should be reserved for teams like Texas A&M and Alabama which refused to play the Cardinals.
  • Likewise for Teddy Bridgewater’s chances of winning the Heisman Trophy Award. Teddy didn’t want money wasted on a campaign. He has higher priorities. Spare us the tirades, they only expose your shallowness.
  • Third straight sellout in football: Maybe, hopefully, UofL fans have arrived to the point where it doesn’t matter who the opponent is at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Many more of them, joining the die hards, just wanting to be there.
  • Kevin Ware dunking again: Good to know, indicating that he’s making strides with the rehabilitation. Curious that Rick Pitino believes he may not be quite ready when basketball practices begins in earnest. (A call to Pitino’s executive assistant revealed she didn’t know the start date, just that it will begin in October.) As with everything else involving injuries on the UofL basketball, rehab timing is subject to rapid changes.
  • UofL volleyball off to a weak start: Ann Kordes’ team is off to a wobbly 2-5 start, missing four of the top players from last season. What’s hurting most immediately is that the recruiting pipeline to Eastern Europe was shut off when former women’s AD Julie Hermann sent Leonid Yelin packing three years ago.

Part 2: Jurich on scheduling, Big 12 champ game, UK football series, Johnny U

Wrapping up Tom Jurich’s remarks on issues affecting University of Louisville athletics during a question-and-answer period during his Tuesday appearance at a fundraising event for the Central Cardinal Club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium:

Scheduling Top Tier Teams:  “We’ve looked closely at it. We’ve been close to a couple of deals with Notre Dame and other teams. But again, you have to look at the philosophy of most of these teams which is that if they have three out-of-conference games, they’re going to schedule three home wins. Now this is all going to change. I think the scheduling will loosen up a bit quite a bit right now (with the new Selection Committee coming for the playoffs). I really do. The one thing I’m totally against, all the hard work we’ve put into this program will all be torn down if we buy into two-for-one’s. Perception is everything. If we have to back to playing two-for-one’s, it not the right thing for our program at all. I don’t think on one hand we can say we’re a prominent program, a top 15 program, and have to go play two-for-one’s. I just don’t want to do that. It will kill us.”

Big 12 Championship Game:  Certainly there’s a scenario for there to be pressure on the Big 12 to have a championship game from a numbers standpoint. This week they have six teams in the top 25. If you can do that every year, you probably don’t need a championship game. They go back 10 years ago to when Oklahoma was denied a shot at the national championship when it was beaten by another conference team. That’s where the sour taste comes from, the bitterness about playing a conference championship game. I think down the road they should play a championship game but I don’t think it’s going to be in the near future.”

On Continuing the Football Rivalry with Kentucky: “I certainly hope the rivalry continues the way it’s going in football. I haven’t had any discussions with Mitch Barnhart about this or ending the series. I know from our standpoint, no matter what conference we’re in, we want to play the game. It’s Kentucky and that means everything to us around here and everything to them even though they won’t admit that. It’s a huge rivalry game and you don’t ever want to let those games go. Traditions are hard to come by. I can’t speak for them but, from our standpoint, we’re in forever.”

How ESPN feels about three unbeaten Big East teams:  “In my opinion, the lack of interest we’ve gotten from ESPN is only tied to the contract issue. They’re trying to push us down in the sand as they try to do the conference. We will be a player. It’s going to be hard for them to avoid the Big East because they’re totally surrounded by it. UConn is in their back yard, you’ve got St. John’s in New York, you’ve got Providence in the Boston market. ESPN grew up on Big Monday basketball. Going to be hard to ignore Big East basketball although in this equation, it’s football, football, football … If we can take care of business this week (against South Florida), next Friday (against Cincinnati) could be an electric atmosphere. (The game will be telecast on ESPN).”

All Volleyball Games in Yum! Center —  “Probably not. We don’t have a contract for volleyball. We’re only contracted for men’s and women’s basketball. The Yum! Center is letting the volleyball team play games there on pretty much an availability basis. They can’t be a position where they’re tying those dates up.  The new AEG management group consists of great people. They will work with us. If they have dates for volleyball, we will get them. Attendance has been fantastic but when you look at volleyball versus a concert date, there’s no comparison. They have to pay the bills.”

State High School Football Championships at Papa John’s — The games are played during a week that the Big East want to reserve for conference games, whether one is scheduled or not. “We thought they still could have played it here .. We’d love to have it here, it makes a lot of sense. ”

Moving the Johnny Unitas Statue:  “That would be Charlie Strong’s call,” he said, in reference to complaints about the statue being covered up by the rubberized tunnel before games.

Julie Hermann, U of L mover and shaker

Julie Hermann (left) has an anxious moment during the University of Louisville women’s basketball team’s come-from-behind 52-48 win over Villanova at the KFC Yum! Center Saturday. U of L is currently tied with Rutgers for third place in the Big East with 6-2 conference mark, and is 17-4 overall.

She’s everywhere it seems on the University of Louisville campus, overseeing 20 women’s sports programs and the Olga Peers Athletic Unit. She’s also involved as a board member with numerous community organizations.

She is Tom Jurich’s right-hand person, deeply emeshed in the development of the overall athletic program, including cultivation for financial support. That would also include, we presume, involvment in any future conference considerations.

She is Julie Hermann, executive senior associate athletic director.

Hermann has held the position for the past 15 years, arriving in Louisville in 1997, arriving from the University of Tennessee where she was volleyball coach for six seasons. She spent one year as an assistant coach for USA Volleyball, helping the National Team to a silver medal finish at the World University Games.

An All-Big Eight volleyball player at the University of  Nebraska from 1981-84, her team won four conference championships, four tournament championships, and competed in four consecutive NCAA tournaments.

Fun to watch at U of L athletic events. She enjoys her job.

Hallowed, hurried weekend for UofL fans

Busy, busy weekend for University of Louisville fans.

Or how to avoid opening the door 150 times for Trick or Treaters on a Halloween weekend when no one is certain which night they will start ringing the door bell.

Ziva of NCIS would be proud.

Starting Friday night, watch the UofL volleyball team fall behind two sets to zero to Villanova and then come clawing back to win the final three. Largely on the shoulders of Lola Arslanbekova, the Ziva David look-alike with 13 kills.

Anyway, back to avoiding the gremlins.

Saturday:

Noon — Football, with Louisville seeking to break a two-year Big East Conference losing streak on the road at Pittsburgh.

4:30 — Women’s basketball. at the new KFC Yum! Center, Jeff Walz preparing his young team of “super stars” for the real world with an exhibition game against Indiana Wesleyan.

7 p.m. — Getting out of the downtown parking tower, rushing out to Cardinal Park where Ken Lolla’s team, 13-0-2, is seeking to clinch an undefeated regular season against Villanova.

Sunday:

10 a.m. — Church (give UK fans a hard time if UofL beats Pittsburgh)

2 p.m. — Rick PItino’s basketball team plays its first official exhibition game at the aforementioned arena against Northern Kentucky University. What always looks like a cakewalk on the schedule always turns out to be a little more challenging than expected. Maybe it’s because Pitino wants it that way. Fans never know for sure.

6 p.m. — Midnight — Well, it is Halloween. Better stop by SAM’s.