Jurich Standing Firm On Football

Even the most adamant critic of University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich would have to admit that the man stands behind his words in the face of growing criticism that would have lesser people running for cover.

Jurich confirmed in an interview with Big East blogger Brian Bennett Wednesday that the football program is in a rebuilding mode, seemingly putting to rest any speculation that he will relieve football coach Steve Kragthorpe of his duties anytime soon:

“My expectations were not high this year because I knew the reality,” Jurich said on Wednesday. “One thing I didn’t want to do to the fans was lie to them.

“When I said we’d spend the next two years rebuilding, there was a lot of flack that came with it. Nobody wants to hear that. [But] it’s a long haul and I knew that and I buckled up for it.

“It’s hard for some people to hear that when one year you’re going to the Orange Bowl and now you’re not. Our fans are so new at this, they thought we’d be going to the Orange Bowl every week, but it’s not like that.”

The last sentence is sure to severely irritate those who were already beside themselves in demanding that Jurich fire Kragthorpe for what they consider rank incompetence. They see a team going backwards, not rebuilding. Their ranks include many who supported the team for years, including at least one couple who had never missed a home game in 42 years and traveled to many road games.

Jurich anticipated the ire that comes with rebuilding, saying before the season that he just wanted to get through the next two seasons. He is not surprised or shocked by the reactions. And no one can say Jurich didn’t warn them.

This observer believes the worst fear is that UofL football will descend into a bottomless pit from which it would difficult to ever recover. It is a concern based on few signs of progress over the past two seasons.

However, Tom Jurich believes the rebuilding process will be successful. Jurich has been around the block a few times, and he’s staking his reputation on it. But he faces an equal challenge in maintaining the loyalty of fans who disregard what he’s telling them.

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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.

8 thoughts on “Jurich Standing Firm On Football

  • November 13, 2008 at 12:59 pm
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    Jurich will be taking a major gamble if he maintains the coach for two more years given what we have seen so far.

  • November 13, 2008 at 1:09 pm
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    What Tom neglected to tell people was that rebuilding would not be very pretty. Given UofL’s football history, it’s not surprising at all that so many jerks have come out of the woodwork. If we can weed the jerks out during this process, it will be a good thing.

  • November 13, 2008 at 2:38 pm
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    This rebuilding process is going to take an eternity.

  • November 13, 2008 at 8:19 pm
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    This current generation of Cardinal football fans will not understand what it took to get to the lofty heights of Orange and Gator bowls. Were they there when we were struggling to get 13,000 in antiquated Cardinal Stadium under Bob Weber? Did they suffer thru Howard’s first two years of futility? Did they have seats during Cooper’s 3rd year? I’mn willing to wait and see what a future with Kragthorpe brings…because I’ve sat thru MUCH worse than what we are currently going thru. If Krags can eventually turn us back to Petrino success, I’ll be there. If it goes south and we have a new coach in a couple of years, I’ll still be in my seat. Maybe with age comes maturity and paitence…but much more importantly…you’re a fan for the long haul..not just during the good times…if you believe.

  • November 14, 2008 at 11:30 am
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    I loved Howard Schnellenberger and one thing he said while he was at U of L that has stuck in my pea brain regarding any football program or any football game is….you have to BELIEVE. I have seen undermanned teams pull out amazing victories because they refuse to quit and bought into that philosophy. I’ve seen coaches struggle for a few years and then because they didn’t quit, start winning – they started to believe in what they were doing. It’s hard to watch our Cardinals fall when (for a lot of us) we have waited over 20 years to reach the upper level of achievement that we had under Bobby. Now to see it sliding down that dark, muddy hill it is painful to watch and we feel helpless to stop the momentum. My fear is that we will lose TJ because of this mess and some real bandwagon fans who continue to make his life miserable. Do I think SK is the man to take our program back to where it was when he got here? Absolutely not but it’s not about me…..it’s not about any of the fans ultimately. It’s about our Program and what’s best for it. I truly believe TJ will take the appropriate action we want him to take but I understand it is too soon to do that now – he has GOT to let SK fail and fail completely which I believe he is on his way to doing. As fans, we have to keep our heads and not jump off the deep end over this. Buy your tickets – show up and sit in those seats BEFORE kickoff and STAY in those seats whether we are winning or losing on the field until the game is over. Denny Crum used to say that Louisville has the best fan base in the country. I still believe that. The rubber is meeting the road and we need to show our class as a fanbase. We WILL win again and we WILL go to BCS bowl games again. BELIEVE, BELIEVE, BELIEVE. Go CARDS!

  • November 14, 2008 at 12:41 pm
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    Linda: I completely concur with everything you are saying. Great comments. It sure hurts though to sound like UK fans with that “Believe” stuff but I guess that’s where we are right now.

  • November 14, 2008 at 5:34 pm
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    Charlie, Howard made the statements about BELIEVE way before yUK ever even thought of such a thing……he was a U of L coach speaking to U of L fans….I NEVER take anything from yUK – EVER.

  • December 4, 2008 at 10:09 pm
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    THIS COACH HAS GOT TO GO.WE CAME TO RUTGERS LIKE WE WERE SLEEPWALKING.I TRYED TO BELIEVE BUT BEFORE HALFTIME THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT TO BELIEVE IN.NOT ALL THE COACHS FAULT BUT THE BUCK STOPS WITH HIM.I WAS UNABLE TO WATCH THE 2ND HALF EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS NO OTHER GAMES ON.

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