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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the tag “Denny Crum”

Cardinals, Tigers and Bearcats, Oh My! Part 1

Metro Conference logo

Metro Conference logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Louisville, Memphis State, and Cincinnati rivalries have spanned many decades and almost as many conferences. These rivalries, that are underappreciated nationally, hold a special place in the heart s of these three universities and fan bases. It is truly a love/hate relationship;  we love to hate each other.

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The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Louisville FINAL

The Louisville Mount Rushmore was a tough one.  The general consensus was that–while Johnny Unitas was a superstar–his star was so NFL-related as to question his inclusion in a Louisville Mount Rushmore.  The Confidential is not too bold as to ignore criticism.  Where, as here, there is a legitimate beef, the Confidential listens.  We removed Unitas from the list.

With two holes to fill, the decision becomes a bit easier.  Darrell Griffith is beloved to Louisville hoops fans.  Unlike Unitas, he did most of his real damage in college–benefiting the program directly.  He left school as the all-time leading scorer.  His jersey has been retired.  He won a national championship.  He even earned the moniker Dr. Dunkenstein–an exciting player coming before Phi Slamma Jamma and Michael Jordan.  He would have been #4, but now he is #3.

The battle for #4 becomes tougher.  On the one hand, Rick Pitino just won a national championship.  On the other hand, Rick Pitino is at Louisville because of athletic director Tom Jurich.  Although the Confidential’s initial thought was to defer Jurich for a later edition, the fan outcry was significant.  Jurich hired Pitino.  He hired Charlie Strong. Both of those programs are top 10 and headed to our beloved ACC.  He has been in charge of Louisville’s rapid climb in revenue–despite the paltry sums generated by the TV revenue from Big East (and lesser conference) membership.  Louisville sports is as powerful as it has ever been–and most of that is due to the efforts of Tom Jurich.  Someday he will have a field, arena, or stadium named after him.  For now, he will have to settle for a spot on the Confidential’s Louisville Mount Rushmore.

The Final Louisville Mount Rushmore: Denny Crum, Howard Schnellenberger, Darrell Griffith, and Tom Jurich.

Other Mount Rushmores:

  1. Maryland Preliminary   Maryland Final
  2. Boston College    Boston College Final
  3. Wake Forest   Wake Forest Final
  4. Miami   Miami Final
  5. Virginia Tech   Virginia Tech Final
  6. Syracuse   Syracuse Final
  7. Virginia   Virginia Final
  8. Pittsburgh  Pittsburgh Final
  9. North Carolina State  North Carolina State Final
  10. Clemson   Clemson Final
  11. Georgia Tech  Georgia Tech Final
  12. Louisville
  13. Notre Dame
  14. Duke
  15. North Carolina
  16. Florida State

For more on the Louisville decisions, see the original discussion…

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The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Louisville

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.

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In 2013, Louisville Again Proves Its Worth

#L1C4(Credits: www.gocards.com)

#L1C4
(Credits: http://www.gocards.com)

If any doubt still existed as to whether the University of Louisville was the right choice for membership into the Atlantic Coast Conference, those doubts were dashed on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

As I watched my beloved Cardinals struggle, persevere and then triumph against the Syracuse Orange in the last Big East Championship title game of the modern era, I couldn’t help but think about all the naysayers and detractors of Belknap’s athletic department as the ACC made its decision in 2012.

Louisville basketball has come a long way, to be sure. We were always the known unknown who entered and left conferences. From the Metro Conference to Conference USA to the Big East Conference, the pride of Louisville proved and proved and proved themselves to fans, outsiders and future conference brass by winning national titles and battling our way into Final Fours. When Rick Pitino was hired as head coach after legend Denny Crum wrapped up his career, fans instantly knew the future was bright and we would give our new coach as much time as he needed.

What we have accomplished as members of the Big East is still unfathomable in my eyes. I’m sure the Villanovas and Syracuses and Georgetowns and Connecticuts chided the decision to add us and others to their ranks and assumed they would continue to dominate the league. No one could have written the memorable storyline the Cardinals have produced since 2005.

Louisville became the winningest program since the realignment of 2005 and has now won its third conference basketball championship. As finalists of the tournament in four of the last five years, the Cardinals have continued to prove their worth on the hardwood.

2013 Big East Champions(Credits: www.bigeast.org)

2013 Big East Champions
(Credits: http://www.bigeast.org)

In football, Louisville has always faced an uphill challenge. Scheduling juggernauts like Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame had been a difficult feat to claim, and recruiting the best players from around the country has never been our trademark. However, the football Cardinals made it their mission to always be satisfied with the progression of the program and to constantly improve from within.

Having won our two Bowl Championship Series matchups (2006 FedEx Orange Bowl and 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl), we put everything on the field when we are placed on the stage and told to perform.

When Coach Charlie Strong chose to extend his contract at Louisville rather than take the Tennessee job with the Southeastern Conference, fans surrounding the university knew what he thought about his current job and the institution. The sigh of relief throughout the River City came from fans who realized that our time had finally come to keep our coach and strive to maintain and surpass our accomplishments.

Although elevated, it is clear head coach Charlie Strong is not satisfied with the heights of the program under his tutelage. The invitation to the ACC combined with the fashion in which Louisville dealt the Gators the loss in the Sugar Bowl sent the city into overdrive.

Coach Charlie Strong celebrates after the 2013 Sugar Bowl victory(Credits: Getty Images)

Coach Charlie Strong celebrates after the 2013 Sugar Bowl victory
(Credits: Getty Images)

All we ask is for a chance to prove our worth. That is all we have ever wanted, and it appears we will soon get our chance once again in the prestigious ACC in 2014.

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