The Confidential has been having some fun with league-wide coaches Mount Rushmores. Football and Basketball, plus polls for each of football and basketball to share your thoughts. In fact, it was so sufficiently fun and controversial that we are going to do school-wide Mount Rushmores now. And we will only put three people on the list, leaving you–our readers–to comment as to who should be the fourth. We will not do polls anymore. For today, let’s go with a school that is still one year away from formally joining the ACC: Louisville.
As we discussed previously, these school-wide Mount Rushmores are limited to sports only–players and coaches. That being said, athletes that have gone on to have careers that have furthered their legend are rewarded also. And negative publicity will also be factored in. We do not believe that USC would put OJ Simpson on its Mount Rushmore. It is what it is. Admittedly, there will be a recency bias too. While historical accomplishments are typically quite impressive, coaching college football (as an example) in 1955 was a lot different than coaching today, where coaches rarely get 5 years to make their mark anymore. Similarly, in an era of up to 14 college football games or 40 college basketball games, as well as daunting pressure from the fans and media, today’s game is more challenging. That’s our opinion and we are sticking to it.
The Confidential gives the first spot to Denny Crum. Crum is an easy selection, with two national titles and several Final Four appearances. Crum won nearly 700 games for Louisville during his 30 years of coaching. Even after retirement, Crum continued to be an ambassador for Louisville. He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the College Basketball Hall of Fame. Next time you watch a Louisville hoops game, note that it is taking place on Denny Crum Court. A no-brainer.
The #2 spot goes to a guy that we just put on the final Miami Mount Rushmore–Howard Schnellenberger. Here is a guy that converted Miami to national prominence… and then goes and does the same thing at Louisville. Consider this… Louisville football was pondering a move to 1-AA and Schnellenberger took them to the Fiesta Bowl within several years. Without him, there is no Charlie Strong. There is no Teddy Bridgewater possibly leading the Cardinals to a national title this year. And there is certainly no ACC membership. So, while we dislike having the dual Mount Rushmore enshrinement, it is inevitable here.
The #3 spot for Louisville is actually not that difficult for a change. How can Rick Pitino not be on the list with his recent national title? Granted, he has generated some negative publicity with his 15-seconds of infidelity. And then there is the whole Kentucky thing. There are a legion of basketball players to consider–check out Card Chronicle’s list of top 20 Louisville basketball players ever–Darrell Griffith, Milt Wagner, Wes Unseld, and Pervis Ellison stand out. Tom Jackson made a name for himself in the NFL and on television–even taking every opportunity to promote Louisville on broadcasts. Other notables include Ted Washington, Ray Buchanan, and Deion Branch. It should also be noted that if we were doing this in 20 years, current athletic director Tom Jurich might be on the list. All of the guys in this paragraph deserve consideration for the #4 spot.
But the #3 spot has to go to Johnny Unitas. He is the only retired number for the Louisville football program. While his greatest accomplishments were in the NFL, what an NFL career it was. He is one of the iconic names in NFL history. His name adorns a dormitory at Louisville. He was even in the Homie the Clown Simpsons episode–which is worthy of a non-Johnny U clip:
In any event, we’ll go with Johnny Unitas as #4.
And now it is your turn to let us know who you think should be #4. Who will be the Confidential’s fourth Louisville Cardinal on its Mount Rushmore?
Other Mount Rushmores: