[stextbox id=”warning”]Dear Tom Jurich,

I have been a University of Louisville football fan since 1979. One of my first dates with my husband was attending a Louisville football game. Over the years, we’ve been to 95% of the home games and attended at least two on the road every season.

The recent performance in Cincinnati was embarrassing because of a superior opponent and poor leadership. But there’s a difference between being outclassed and not showing up as a team. We clearly missed the bus that day. As a long-time fan, I have lost confidence in his ability to create a winning program at Louisville and would implore you to make a change at this position. I do not believe that a winning tradition of Louisville football can ever exist under Steve Kragthorpe.

I will support my defensive heroes and other football players when they take the field. I have a disclaimer, “Love the players, love the game” but I can no longer watch these kids struggle under inadequate leadership.

The removal of a head coach is a difficult thing to do and no coaching decision will be made until the season is over in all likelihood. But please make a change as soon as possible.

Sonja Sykes

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By Charlie Springer

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

11 thoughts on “One Fan Wishing And Hoping”
  1. “The recent performance in Cincinnati was embarrassing because of a superior opponent and poor leadership.”

    It also had a little to do with the fumbles, interceptions, allowing Cincy to gain more than 6 yards per carry, pathetic defensive play, poor tackling, etc., etc., etc. I agree there needs to be change at the top…but I also am not letting the players off the hook for the poor play week in and week out. They are the ones on the field. WAY too many turnovers, poor tackling, missed extra points, stupid penalities, lack of play execution, etc. The leaders of this team need to step up and demonstrate leadership. At least look like you’re trying!

    1. I don’t believe that a lot of the players are trying.

      Earlier this year a person posted elsewhere that he is a friend of Victor Anderson’s from high school and VA told me a lot of guys don’t care and are trying to get SK fired.

      The above may or not be true but we have a friend whose niece was on the student support staff last year and she told our friend that half the team quit with four or five games to go. This is pretty reliable, not from John’s cousin who heard it from the bagger at the grocery who heard it from Sally’s brother who…….

      Losing takes a toll on players. And playing for a coach like Kragthorpe does too. Put them together and I am not surprised a lot of players have given up.

  2. And, that’s probably the final missive you’ll see from Sonja on the current state of Cardinal football. With the first UofL WBB game this Sunday (2 p.m. Northern Kentucky University @ Freedom Hall) the season has changed for her.

    I have no doubt she’ll accompany me to the football Cards final three home contests. She still enjoys the tailgaiting and social atmosphere surrounding Cardinal football. She’ll cheer for her favorites on the field. I seriously doubt she’ll make the trek to Morgantown. I’m wondering why I’m going, honestly.

    BTW, the letter above (slightly altered by Charlie for editorial content) was sent to Tom Jurich via e-mail on Monday and no reply has been sent back yet…)

  3. I’ve posted pretty much the same sentiment in a few places, but I will reiterate here.

    Disclaimer: Steve Kragthorpe is not a BAD guy. I respect his belief in being a good person.

    Having said that, he is just ill equipped to lead UofL football. It’s a bad fit, and the sooner the “marriage” is over, the sooner both parties can move on and start to heal.

    While a change mid-season may be taboo in AD-land, I think there ARE some times when it is warranted. This is one of those times. The season is lost. The fans and players are depressed. The comments from Pitt players that our players seemed to stop trying at the end…. well, that says a lot about our leadership. The longer we wait to announce the inevitable firing of Kragthorpe and hiring of a top-notch coach, the more the negativity can take hold, and the longer it will take to overcome.

    Put yourself in the shoes of a top recruit. You like Louisville. Facilities are great. Town is great. They used to be exciting to watch. But you don’t want to play for Kragthorpe, and he’s probably gone anyway. Who will replace him? Say you are a great passer. What if they hire a guy like Paul Johnson (Nothing wrong with the results he puts up)that likes to run it all the time and only pass 5-10 times a game? You will never get to the NFL under him. Hmmmm. Better pass on Louisville due to the uncertainty. In that same illustration, maybe you are a great running QB or RB, but you fear Louisville is pass happy and won’t let you demonstrate your greatest strength.

    My point is, we miss out on BOTH players due to uncertainty. Louisville is stuck in limbo right now, and that won’t change until the next era begins. I am confident that TJ will remedy the situation with a top-notch coach to bring us back to prominence. The incentive for recruits to enter a very good program with a great coach and an opportunity to play early should be very enticing. We just need it to happen sooner rather than later.


    1. Interesting that you should mention Paul Johnson. Anthony Allen who left over Krag’s style of play / personality / whatever is averaging over 9 yards a carry at Johnson’s Georgia Tech and is over 235 pounds, the size that can also get you 3rd and short. We miss him, badly.

  4. The transition from high school star to college performer often brings position changes and redefinig skills. Sam Madison started out as a linebaker. Carwell Gardner a defensive lineman. If there is to be a change in the UofL coaching ranks, it will be up to the new coaches and staff to reevaluate the position players and determine their best role.

    Therin lies the problem. Recruits coming into the program, as you so well pointed out, have no idea what type of offense or defensive strategy the new guard will implement. Interesting times lie ahead for the football Cards.

  5. Jurich’s silence speaks volumes.

    Is he striking out with the potential replacements? Has he got one already under wraps and waiting until season end before the announcment?

    Is he waiting to see the final results of this season before deciding?

    Is he contemplating moving on in his career?

    He has the Louisville football community second guessing, squirming in their chairs and making wild speculations on his potential move. It is about the only thing that has kept the football program in the limelight during this underacheiving season.

    As someone once said on here, I wouldn’t want to play poker against that man…

  6. I would love to know if you ever got a reply from Jurich.

    And by the way today’s announced attendence was 21,497. Got to think if word had been put out that SK was gone attendence would have been higher as people wouldn’t have boycotted as a message.

  7. Nope. No return e-mail, call or letter. I realize that Tom has much more pressing business than to respond to fan e-mails. I’d be glad to send him a notepad of “Things to do Today” and I’d also be happy to fill in the number one thing on that list:

    Replace Steve Kragthorpe.

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