Schnellenberger says Louisville’s Fiesta Bowl win energized the city


Howard Schnellenberger had many reasons to be in Louisville over Labor Day weekend, catching up with friends and family in his home town while taking in the Louisville vs. Miami football game, featuring two of his former teams.

Schnellenberger was also promoting his new book, “Passing The Torch,” at numerous stops throughout the community over the weekend. His booth outside Gate One at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium was among the most popular, with a continuous line leading up to kickoff. He also participated in the Punt, Pass & Kick competition.

In his book he writes about the impact of his biggest win, a 34-7 victory over Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl in 1990:

“We felt like Rocky Balboa, or better yet, hometown hero Muhammad Ali. To quote him, we were ready to rock the world. As we were headed out of the locker room for the opening kickoff, Alabama players lined both sides of the hallway leading to the field. They were smirking and talking trash. Maybe they thought they were going to intimidate us. They had no idea how hungry we were …

“Winning the Fiesta Bowl revolutionized the program. It allowed us to enlarge that landlocked campus and build Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. I like to think it regenerated the city of Louisville.”

Schnellenberger always did have a unique way of putting things in perspective, and he may have been right on target. He was the one, after all, who inspired fans to dare dream of their own stadium and to set loftier goals for their team.

The book is available at Amazon in hard cover for $18.96 or on Kindle for $9.59.

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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.