A copy of “Louisville First, Champions Forever” finally arrived in the mail the other day, prompting one to immediately read the book from cover to cover, bringing back some good memories and some new insights.

The book, compiled by KCI Publishing, traces the journey of the University of Louisville basketball team from the pre-season to the confetti drop following UofL’s 82-76 win over Michigan in the NCAA national championship game.Champions Forever

The publishers accomplishes this through a collection of reprinted articles from the Courier-Journal during season, including a few selected games during the regular season, the Big East championship game, and all of the NCAA tournament games.

The book, available in hard back or soft cover, is 128 pages thick, including 16 pages on the championship game. While I wouldn’t describe it as coffee table quality, it is a nice compilation of stories and color photos. The print is large, 13- or 14-point font, making it easy to read for any age group. The paper, I suspect, is from recycled material, which detracts from the overall quality and feel.

While one enjoys reliving many of the highlights, what’s missing is some original and fresh material in the preface, from someone like C-J columnist Tim Sullivan to put everything in perspective. There’s an introduction, for sure, but it’s much too brief, lacking any depth or insight, about what made the winning the national championship so special for this team.

If one doesn’t pay attention to the C-J game stories during the season, and I don’t, the book provides an opportunity to read what they were writing. I avoid the special sections in the newspapers at tournament time, preferring to read them afterwards. Too much optimism, too much hype, too much personal anxiety and energy invested to dwell on speculation.

Now that the University of Louisville’s third national championship is a reality, there is a sense of relief, the pressure is gone, with no threat of bowing out early. The fan focus now, with a third national title putting UofL in really special company, is embracing and celebrating an incredible accomplishment for the university and the community.

Fans hungry for ways to treasure one incredible season will want to include this publication in their ever-expanding collection of NCAA championship materials. The book can be ordered here.

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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.