Two days after an inexcusable loss to UConn, this observer still feels it. TheÂ Louisville faithful are taking it very hard, as indicated by the E-mail this observer received from a longtime University of Louisville football supporter:
â€œAfter not missing a home game for 42 years and catching most of the away games, this is as bad as weâ€™ve been since Cooper. Kragthorpe has lost us, a huge number of the old faithful. Never thought Iâ€™d say this, but bring on basketball â€¦â€
He and his wife were fans before the University of Louisville bandwagon made its most productive passes through town in 1980 and 1986, They were there for football in the sixties and seventies when Louisville football struggled to average 17,000 fans to meet Division I guidelines.Â They were there before Howard Schnellenberger started educating the locals about college football. They were there before anyone even imagined something like Papa John’s stadium. But when the stadium became a reality, they gladly forked over huge bucks for tickets, the donation and good parking.
Good times, bad times, they were there, putting their resources behind the program so it could get better, become respectable, competitive. You can imagine their euphoria going to the Orange Bowl. Thrilled when the jets flew over during the Star Spangled Banner. Jubilant when the massive silver vessel was awarded to the Cards.
TheirÂ incredible loyalty and love for the program had finally been rewarded. They eagerly anticipated the following season when the Cards would be ranked among the top 10 in the pre-season and expected to compete for even bigger stakes.
They were shocked, however, that the 2007 Cards bore no resemblance to their previous team, that the defense was a laughing stock, the offense became progressively worse as the season wore on. Okay, so maybe there were some bad apples left over from the previous coaching staff. Difficulties in adapting to a coaching transition, etc.
They bit their tongues when UofL opened the 2008 season with a embarrassing loss to a Kentucky team using a backup quarterback.Â But they recognized that only nine UofL players in that game had ever started a game. They knew this year’s team was putting forth the effort, and acknowledged that the defense had made significant strides.
But when the Cards lose a game they should have won and put the program back on the right track, they are left puzzled by many of the coaching decisions and can only shake their heads in frustration. They are looking at the head coach for answers but they’re not getting any — and they have begun to doubt if they ever will.
These two fans are reflective of many others who follow Louisville football, dedicated fans whose aspirations for the program have been put on indefinite hold. They have legitimate reasons to be disappointed. They worry in their collective gut that the situation may get worse before it gets better.
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Men’s Soccer Trips Notre Dame — The 19th ranked Louisville Cardinals defeated third-ranked Notre Dame 2-1 on Sunday afternoon in Cardinal Park. Senior Aaron Clapham scored the game equalizer in the 89th minute to force the overtime period. The Cardinals’ win snaps Notre Dame’s seven game unbeaten streak and its 15-game BIG EAST regular-season unbeaten streak. Link.
Women Bump UConn — U of L’s Women’s Field Hockey emerged with a milestone win over UConn Saturday at Cardinal Park. Read Sonja’s report here.