By Steve Springer
One of the quality attributes of a student-athlete is not only what the athlete does on the court or field but what he does going above and beyond athletics. Studying and trying to earn a degree is paramount, but also notoriety provided to these athletes through the exposure by the media extends their reach and endearment further into the community, especially through means of charitable actions and contributions. Now for the typical college student athlete, financial contributions are generally hard to come by, so appearances and elbow grease are sometimes just as meaningful, if not more, especially to little kids.
Cardinal junior Kyle Kuric is no stranger to the latter kind of contributions. Somehow, the Evansville, Indiana native finds a way to balance a business management major, an entrepreneurship minor, and an infamous Rick Pitino practice/conditioning regimen. Not only that, Kyle has found a way to squeeze in time to serve a community in which he is not a native, eagerly and generously donating his time and whatever energy he can possibly have left. Of the many organizations/activities that Kyle participates in, the one that fits the philanthropic category the best would be his dedication to the kids of the local community.
Kyle Kuric as Homecoming King
Kyle coaches youth basketball at a local church. Not your typical 10- or 12-year-olds, though. He chose to coach the little guys — 5-year-olds! I know from lots of personal experience how hard it is to try to teach something as complex and intricate as basketball to a group of riled up kindergarteners. You have to have more patience than actual basketball expertise. And most people grab their clipboards because they have a child on the team and feel obliged to help. Not this Cardinal. He has no kids but there he is week in and week out on Sundays working with those kids as if they were his own. He really loves to “give back with any time that I can”.
Kyle also shows great initiative beyond this, though. His desire to excel on the basketball court is paralleled by his thirst for helping the local youth. His newest endeavor is with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Kentuckiana program. This program is locally based and is all about “expanding the horizons through the power of one to one friendships.” Kyle is very excited about the future of this program and his involvement.
His humanitarian affections are not just limited to the Louisville community, however. His munificence can’t even be contained within this hemisphere. Over the summer, he and his sister, Katie (a fellow Cardinal athlete on the women’s soccer team) vacationed to Egypt. They knew some people there and he engaged in a basketball clinic. During off days, he visited a children’s cancer hospital in Cairo and handed out new sports equipment, hats, and t-shirts to sick little ones there. They were fascinated by this towering American basketball player and his generous spirit.
Kyle and his soccer-playing sister Katie, in Egypt
Back on campus, King Kyle is a very busy guy. He is engaged in numerous activities on campus with people his own age. The nickname was earned after being named Homecoming King this past fall. This has been quite the story around campus and even back with Coach Pitino. During UofL Basketball Media Day, The Godfather could be heard quipping, “Make way for The King!” and “Last chance for an interview with The King!”. When Hall of Famer Rick Pitino addresses you as “The King”, you know you’ve made it big time.
A few other activities:
* Honored as the Outstanding Sophmore Student award UofL’s 2010 Award Ceremony in May for academic excellence and community service
* Participates in the Leadership Academy for Student Government leaders
* Serves as a member of the Student Government Association
* Actively involved in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee
* Sits as the student representative for the UofL Athletic Association Board of Directors
* Serves as a math tutor for elementary kids
Somehow during his crazy schedule this amazing student athlete finds a way to escape the hectic machine that is life for a UofL basketball player and give back to his community, children, peers, and even his elders. The term “above and beyond” gets thrown around a lot when describing efforts of altruistic people like Kyle. This phrase could have been invented specifically for him. Not only does he sky and two-hand slam above the defense on the court, he elevates above the multitudinous responsibilities that accompany the life of a Big East basketball player.