Jurich Maintains Long Term Focus

While much of the discussion is ugly, that fact that so many people feel so passionate about the program is a healthy sign for the future of University of Louisville football. Wasn’t too long ago that the topic didn’t matter much to people between the beginning and the end of basketball.

What has changed is that fans have seen the difference a good football program makes in national respect for the university’s athletic program. When 40,000 people make the trek from Louisville to Miami for an Orange Bowl game, there has been an awakening.

Fans desperately want to return to the upper echelon. They have emotional and financial stakes in the program. Many of them are vocal, strident to the point of  having a negative impact on recruiting. Some predictably threatening not to renew season ticket purchases.

Tom Jurich is fully aware of the discontent. Football is his first love, don’t let anyone kid you (even though basketball provides most of the financial foundation for the athletic program). That’s why stadium expansion is moving ahead full bore. A strong football program is essential for maintaining upward movement.

But Jurich is also keenly aware of the negative implications of booting coaches without giving them every opportunity to succeed, especially when a football program has historically been used as stepping stone for ambitious coaches with little regard for the program’s future.

Steve Kragthorpe has at least one more year as U of L football coach, and all the complaining isn’t going to change that, no matter how legitimate the reasons for the discontent. If he shows significant progress next season, Kragthorpe will be retained.  If Louisville returns to its winning ways, the bandwagon fans will be back. But if the football fortunes continue to decline, Kragthorpe will be gone.

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Unfortunate that things didn’t work out for Jeff Brohm as offensive coordinator. The truth is that few people outside of the program know whether he was up to the task or not.

After the team’s offensive performance this past season, some fans had to be rethinking their criticism of former offensive coordinator Charlie Stubbs, with Brian Brohm as his quarterback, had UofL’s offense among the nation’s top 10 teams in last season.jbrohm

But Jeff Brohm is showing his character by not casting aspersions or blaming other people.  “There’s obviously going to be some disappointment,” he said. “I hold no bitterness whatsoever. I’ll be rooting for them. I’m from here. I played here, went to school here and know a lot of people here, and I want this city to experience having a great football program.”

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

2 thoughts on “Jurich Maintains Long Term Focus

  • February 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Tom Jurich will get the job done, whether it be with Steve Kragthorpe or someone else. It’s unfortunate that we have to endure some bad years but fans have to step up and continue to support the program. I’m hoping Kragthorpe will be successful.

  • February 12, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Jurich has done so much for UofL sports in general that it is extremely disapointing to see his one mistake (Kragthorpe), ruin all he has worked for. I don’t agree with Brohm being pushed out after one year on the job. Apparently Kragthorpe doesn’t feel the same as Jurich about giving someone a legitimate chance to prove themselves. 3 seasons will be enough for Jurich to see that for whatever reasons, it just isn’t working out with Steve Kragthorpe. I know Jurich is taking a lot of flak on the Kragthorpe issue, some deservedly so, but he shouldn’t have allowed Krags to dump Brohm so easily. Lets just get through this next season and move on to a new era in Cardinal Football, one in which the fans actually support the head coach and are ok with times not being so great while things are getting cleaned up. The program went into a downward spiral under Kragthorpe, and that is why fans aren’t supportive, the next coach will have patience and support while trying to bring this program back up.

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