South Florida, Swaback, Unseld, UofL Gear

One good thing about South Florida’s visit this Saturday is that the Bulls aren’t seeking to prove anything. USF has established itself, at least for the time being, as a college football force, currently ranked 14th in both national polls.

The Bulls thrive on the football mania in Florida where it seems there is a vast surplus of quality players. Even the leftovers from the major recruiting wars are highly coveted. They live, breathe and eat football down there, dreaming of it when they sleep.

Play them on their home field, with all their frenzied followers, and you risk being embarrassed, as Louisville has been the last three trips to Tampa. They own the game of football, as far as they are concerned, and you had better be on top of your game, no matter where it is played.

Translator Swaback — There was no live interview with Coach Steve Kragthorpe following UofL’s win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday, announcer Paul Rogers reporting because of technical difficulties.

Despite the problem, it was one of the most enlightening post-game shows in recent memory, with former UofL player and current color man Craig Swaback relaying the coach’s answers to his questions. There were no cliches, no predictable answers, no deadpans.

One had to wonder whether Swaback was putting words in the coach’s mouth or if he was reading the coach’s mind. Or whether Kragthorpe had transformed into a creative thinker. At any rate, Paul Rogers will not have to apologize for technical difficulties in the future.

Westley Unseld – When Westley Unseld was honored as the UofL Alumnus of the Year during homecoming ceremonies, Dean Blain Hudson described him as “probably the greatest athlete the university has ever produced.” The Dean got carried away by the moment. Everybody knows that Darrell Griffith holds that honor. It’s undisputed.

Hudson was right on, however, in applying greatness to Unseld’s athletic abilities. Unseld had a tremendous career in the NBA, being selected as the league’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in his first season.  Unseld led his team to four NBA championship series, including a championship in 1979.

Cardinal Gear – Need more UofL stuff to decorate the family room? Make it out to the University Club today for one of the Central Cardinal Club’s biggest fundraisers of the year. It’s billed as a Holiday Bazaar but you’ll find more original items here than anywhere else. The Bazaar runs from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. See you there.

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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.

6 thoughts on “South Florida, Swaback, Unseld, UofL Gear

  • October 21, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Now, Charlie,

    Griff was incredible…one of the greatest sky-walkers ever

    but Wes was named as one of the top 50 NBA players all time not long ago by the NBA itself.

    He led back-to-back State High School championships for Seneca high (Griff never won state tourney…)

    And in college…he didn’t have much of a supporting cast, except for Butch Beard for awhile. Yet he might have led them to the Final Four at least, if he had not for being out-dueled by Elvin Hayes–another top 50 NBA-er — in the regionals.

    If Wes had made Louisville his home, rather than Baltimore, he would be far more remembered, appreciated, and rightfully revered.

  • October 21, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    NBA fine. I’m going by collegiate contribution.

  • October 22, 2008 at 6:13 am

    I’ll give it up for Griff as the best collegiate male at UofL. Will also throw in Angel McCoughtry for best female all time at UofL. Althought there were several Cardinals that had better careers in the NBA than Griff did…what he accomplished at the school won’t be topped. Wes Unseld was a force, so was Junior Bridgeman…Francisco is having a solid career, and Rodney McCray was essential to several teams, but in terms of UofL accomplishment…you have to pick Griff. But, there’s no statue of him…someone ought to get on that.

  • October 22, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Let’s not overlook the fact that Unseld also was a LOCAL product who stayed home to play college ball, at his LOCAL university. Go Cards!

  • November 3, 2008 at 10:14 am

    There is no doubt that Westley Unseld was the best basketball player and best athlete (he also threw shot up and discus I believe) in U of L history. Period. As you say, indisputable.

  • November 3, 2008 at 11:24 am

    My vote goes to Johnny U who probably had a greater impact on professional football than any other single player. He was handicapped by the lack of emphasis on football when he played at U of L.

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