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Friday, August 9, 2019

Karen Ferguson Dayes Interview -- A History of Women's Sports Chapter 11: Track and Field -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Louisville Women's Soccer comes off an NCAA appearance last season, a season that was head coach Karen Ferguson Dayes 19th. at UofL. I got the chance to interview "Coach KFD" earlier this week at the Lynn Stadium offices and we bring that interview to you today. 

She returns a strong roster that has pre-season ALL-ACC selection Emina Ekic at midfield and the other top two leading scorers from last year (Maisie Whitsett and Brooklyn Rivers.).

Louisville has been picked to finish eighth in a preseason poll in the ultra-competitive ACC conference that sent 10 of their 14 squads to the NCAA Tournament last year.

Louisville's season begins on Aug 17th. with an exhibition against Butler at Lynn Stadium




(Thanks to Louisville women's soccer S.I.D. Kim Pemberton for her work in arranging this interview.) 


We move onto the tail end of our summertime project.  Today we will look at A History of Louisville Women’s Sports Chapter 11: Track and Field.  As always, we’ll refer to women’s track and field simply as track and field unless otherwise noted.

Louisville’s records trace track and field back to 1989 for outdoor. and 1992 for indoor.  They started with the Metro Conference and remained there through 1995.  UofL transitioned to Conference USA in 1996 and enjoyed a 10-year stint there.  They went to the Big East from 2005-2013 and visited the American Athletic Conference briefly in 2013.  Since 2014, Louisville track and field has participated in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Note: The men go back to 1976, several years before their women counterparts.

The Cards had moderate success in the Metro Conference, often finishing around 3rd or 4th.  Their time in C-USA was not great, with subpar finishes nearly every season.  Once in the Big East, Louisville took off and had 1st place outdoor finishes five years straight and was often top three in indoor finishes.

Throwers D’Ana McCarty and Emmonnie Henderson are the most notable track and field star for the Cards.  D'Ana won the NCAA Indoor Weight Throw Championship back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010. Emmonnie Henderson holds the school record for the shot put throw and also participated in the NCAA Championships  Dorcas Wasike, still on the squad for 2019, holds two school records for distance running and has also participated in the NCAA Championships. 

Dale Cowper is the current head coach for the track and field team at Louisville.  He holds the same position with the cross-country team as well, with several the student-athletes participating in both.  Cowper took over as head coach in 2013 after having been an assistant with the Cards from 2006-2013.  Several individuals have had breakout performances under his reins, including Edwin Kibichiy, Emmonnie Henderson, Dorcas Wasike, Makenli Forrest, Alexis Gibbons, and Gabriela Leon.

Prior to Cowper, Ron Mann was head coach.  He held that position from 2004-2013.  He was with Northern Arizona for 24 years before that.  During his time in Louisville he oversaw four student-athletes win six individual national championships.  Mann retired, resulting in Cowper’s promotion.

Cardinal Park has been home to the Cards since 2000.  Originally, the middle field was used by both soccer teams.  Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium- not to be confused with the new Lynn Family Stadium that houses Louisville City FC- opened in the fall of 2014, leaving track and field alone.  The facility can seat 2,200 people but can more than triple that with standing room early.  Cardinal Park hosts some of the largest track and field events in the country including the Lenny Lyles Invitational and the Louisville Invitational.

Most track and field events are free with some larger events charging admission.  However, there is plenty of room to grab a lawn chair and sit outside the chain link fence to watch UofL perform on campus.  If you’re lucky you might be able to climb to the top of Ulmer Stadium or Trager Stadium to get a good view. 

We strive to bring you the latest and greatest updated from Louisville Track and Field here at Cardinal Couple.  Stay tuned next week as we wrap up Chapter 12: Rowing, just in time for the start of the fall sports season!

Happy Friday and Go Cards!



  1. Love how the interview turned out. Really excited for this season to get started.

  2. I, too, am curious on what the backfield will look like and how the rotation might chance with Vincent having graduated. Excited for the season!


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