We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Louies -- Derby Week -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

The Louies


For the first time ever The Louies Student-Athlete Awards Show will be virtual.  In years past, we saw the student-athletes throw on their best attire and get together for the event. The event is tonight, Thursday April 30th., at 8 p.m.

The only hosts should be pretty familiar faces- Celene Funke, Jazmine Jones, and Lamar "Fresh" Kimble (men's basketball).


The Louies will be live streamed on the GoCards Facebook and Twitter accounts and will be open to the public for viewing.

Awards such as Breakthrough Student-Athlete of the Year, Moment of the Year, Freshman-Senior of the Year, and CardsCare are all given out.

Make sure to tune in at 8:00 p.m.tonight, to enjoy some time reflecting back on the sports from this past school year and to see some of your favorite student-athletes.

I did some digging but found these photos from some of the teams from last year.

Field Hockey

Derby Week

Had it not been for COVID-19 we would be in the final days of our two-week party.  Today should have been the Pegasus Parade with tomorrow being Oaks and Saturday Derby.

Instead, we are all still stuck at home and trying to social distance ourselves in hopes that things return to normal soon.

There was some good news, however, when it was announced that Churchill Downs would be able to reopen May 11 with the potential of races starting up on May 14.  All of this would be without spectators, but is still a promising sign.

It also gives us hope of a normal fall sports season, which would normally start in late-August.

I'm somewhere in here!

As a former Cardinal Marching Band member, this was a busy time as Derby Day was a long day for us.  It was highlighted by the playing of "My Old Kentucky Home" right before the Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.  The Official Band of the Kentucky Derby switched things up this year and took recordings from current members and alumni and pieced together a video of about 100 performers.  It will be released Saturday and you can see yours truly in the mix on euphonium.

Remember to stay safe!

Happy Thursday and Go Cards!


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Chris Stallings Interview -- Portal and Verbal News -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Today I catch up with the 2020 Kentucky Girls High School Coach of the Year Chris Stallings and the magical run his Bullitt East Lady Chargers girls basketball team went on  in the 2019-20 season. 

Our interview covers the players, the moments, the past, the future and Chris's health. It is a chat you definitely don't want to miss. 

My thanks to my ol' buddy Chris for his insight and willingness to do this. He (and I) look forward to the day when the student-athletes can gather together as a group again and practice and play.  I know you, the reader, look forward to these days as well. 

We hope you enjoy the interview. Click the link below to hear it. 


We got news yesterday that a second UofL women's basketball player has entered the transfer portal.

Seygan Robins, a sophomore guard from Mercer County High School (Harrodsburg, KY) is testing the waters to see if she can find a place where she can get more playing time. The 5'10" guard played in 26 games as a freshman for the Cards in the 2018-19 season, averaging 1.6 points and 0.8 assists. In the 2019-20 season, she appeared in two contests before a foot injury necessitated a redshirt for her. 

Robins was the Kentucky Girls Basketball Player of the Year with Mercer County in the 2018 season. she finished her high school career with over 2500 points, 800 assists and 500 steals.

Jeff Walz says of Seygan: 

"She wanted the opportunity to play more. Same thing as Lindsey Duvall. She'll still have a scholarship here if she doesn't find the fit." 

We will miss her style and smile and wish her the things she seeks as she moves on to the next stage of her collegiate student-athlete journey. 


Sydni Schetnan, a 6'5" post from Sioux Falls, SD is the latest 2021 verbal commit to the University of Louisville women's basketball and volleyball squads. The duo sports star attended Washington High School in Sioux Falls. It seems the Cards have had their eye on her for quite some time. Beginning with Volleyball.  Sydni Schetnan has long been a target for the Louisville volleyball program, having played for Cardinal associate head coach Dan Meske, formerly of Augustana University, when she was 13.

This summer, however, the Washington High standout also began drawing interest for her basketball prowess, having caught the attention of multiple college coaches (including the Cardinals) during an AAU tournament. Not only did that event springboard her basketball recruitment, it also ignited her interest in the sport.
"I started to really like basketball a lot (over the summer)," Schetnan said. "By the end of this basketball season, it was super hard to choose if I wanted to do one or the other."

At Louisville, she'll be able to do both. 


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Transfer Portal -- Walz Presser -- Community Services -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Duvall Enters Transfer Portal

Lindsey Duvall announced that she will be entering the transfer portal, meaning her time as a Cardinal has, in all probability, come and gone.

Duvall joined Louisville from right down the road in Mt Washington and Bullitt East High School.  She was a five-star prospect and was the 2017 Miss Kentucky Basketball recipient.

Duvall, who red-shirted her true freshman year, played two seasons with the Cards and will have two seasons of eligibility left.  However, Walz said that if she could not find another place that fits her that her scholarship at Louisville will be honored.

Duvall appeared in 23 games and averaged 6.2 minutes per game last season.  She shot 40% from three-point range in the 2019-2019 season.

Wherever Lindsey chooses to go we wish her the best of luck and look forward to seeing her accomplishments.

One would think her three-point skills would serve someone quite well. Internet chatter even had former Cardinal great and head WBB coach at Charleston University Becky Burke commenting favorably on Duvall on the roster. One  talented three-point shooter playing for one of the best in Cardinal history. It has possibilities, I suppose.

Jeff Walz Press Conference

University of Lousiville head women's basketball coach Jeff Walz gave a press conference via online video chat yesterday.  He sported a red polo with a white Cardinal bird head in the corner while sitting in his office at home.

Right off the bat we heard a question about Duvall, which Walz went in depth on.

Questions to follow focused on how the coaching staff is remaining in contact with the players regarding practices and workouts, as well as their travel and safety.

We heard Walz get asked about how having players getting drafted in the WNBA Draft plays a factor in recruiting.

One question that perked several ears up was his thoughts and comments on Muffet McGraw retiring. The assumption that "on-court" rivalries and words extend to off the court was shot down by Walz.

Walz was 5-14 against the Irish before McGraw retired. The Cards did win both games last year. They were blowouts.

There was also a question regarding the layoffs and furloughs, which Walz tried to keep pretty short and sweet while still responding in a professional manner.

You can check out the full video on Youtube below.

Also, thank you to Nick Evans for setting everything up and allowing us to stay in touch with Coach Walz. Paulie sat in on the teleconference and got a question in.

Community Service Recognition

13 programs at Louisville were ranked in the Top 10 nationally for their respective groups in service hours for 2019-2020.On top of their hard work in their sport and academically these student-athletes dedicate their remaining time out in the community helping others out and making the world a better place. Louisville Athletics  has had a long tradition of excelling in their social outreach from student-athletes in assisting the community, and it is also something that the players take great joy and pride in -- helping others. We salute the efforts of our Cardinals and know that they'll always be there to contribute.

Here are the rankings for each of the 13 programs:

#1 Field Hockey
#1 Lacrosse
#3 Baseball
#3 Ladybirds
#3 Men's Soccer
#3 Women's Soccer
#5 Men's Swimming
#5 Rowing
#6 Cheer
#8 Softball
#8 Women's Golf
#10 Men's Golf
#10 Women's Swimming

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!  Remember to stay safe!


Monday, April 27, 2020



Names. They can be tricky sometimes. 

I recently got an e-mail from an organization that asked me to do a "local coverage" article for them on the draft status of Louisville seniors Kylee Shook and Jazmine Jones. 

And, that has never been a problem for me -- talking or writing about those two excellent UofL women's basketball stars.

It was, though, referencing "Jasmine" and "Kaylee". 

Another funny thing was that the e-mail was address to Paulie Skyes of Cardinal Couple. I've dealt with that misspelling and mispronunciation of my last name (Sykes, not Skyes) my entire life -- so, I corrected them on the gaffes and sent them a few paragraphs highlighting the careers of these two "Cardinal Forever" student-athletes. 

I guess messing up names is a common occurrence when you've got a name that isn't so easily recognized or pronounced. I tell people a way to remember my last name with the rhyming sentence "Nobody like Paul Sykes". I did see a brief blurb years ago about me in a newspaper column that I got a chuckle about. It read, Paul Skies for 12 rebounds in the narrow loss..."  So, was the writer referring to my better than average jumping ability  (he skies for the rebound) way-back-then...or had the writer just botched my last name? 

I received the nickname "Paulie" back when I was a little boy, from my Mom, as a term of endearment.

I've seen that morph into "Pauly" "Pauley" and "Polly" over the years. I just refer to the movie "Goodfellas" character "Paulie" if people need a spelling on it. There was also a "Paulie" in the TV series The Sopranos"...and a movie about a parrot named "Paulie" in the late 90's. 

I haven't seen the movie. I liked the characters in "Goodfellas" and "The Sopranos" 

My favorite was a few years ago when I traveled to an out of state campus to cover a women's basketball game. They had trouble finding my credentials. The picture to the left of these words show the error in the spelling. "Skykes".

Really?  But, then was from IU. The ushers there also had no idea where the Media Room was for WBB. I got sent to the top of Assembly Hall, a grueling trip for me back then with recently replaced hip and bum knee. I'm glad we won the game...

Coaches and athletes fall victim to misspelling a lot. I couldn't tell you exactly how many times I've seen comments about UofL head women's basketball coach Jeff Waltz. Maybe it's just a case of where they let the auto-correct feature over-ride their best intentions to identify the Cards skipper Jeff Walz?  Or were they linking Coach with a popular dance form from generations ago?  I've never seen "Walls", though, in a reference to the popular Cardinal coach....even though I knew a Jeff Walls in high school. 

Another coach who had to deal with this over the years is the recently-retired Notre Dame head women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw.  I've seen a lot of articles that insist on adding an additional "t" to her first name....referring to Muffett McGraw. (I know there were a lot of fans that wouldn't have minded Muffet picking up an additional "T" during a game...but, that's not relevant to what this article is about).

 How many of you knew that her actual first name is "Ann"? 

My favorite picture of Cortnee --
with Asia Taylor. 
One of my favorite WBB players who wore a Cardinal uniform was Cortnee Walton. I saw her referred to as "Courtney'"or "Cortney" a few times during her student-athlete time at UofL (2012-2017). Writers usually got the last name correct, though. Maybe because of the success of Bill Walton or the TV family "The Waltons". 

"Good night, John-Boy...good night, Cortnee!" 

Sid or Syd?  This first name confuses people at various times for several UofL student-athletes. I've seen mix ups on  softball great Sidney (not Sydney) Melton, Cardinal WBB players Sydney (not Sidney) Brackemyre and Sydney Zambrotta. 

i wonder how often Howie Lindsey and Lindsey Duvall have been referred to as "Lindsay"? Sara Hammond as "Sarah" ?

How about former USF and Cardinal guard Briahanna Jackson getting referred to as "Brianna"? And, now, there is a Brianna Jackson that currently plays basketball for the University of Miami and a volleyball player named Brianna Jackson headed to the University of North Alabama. 

It also hits the Cardinal Couple staff. Our writer Case Hoskins occasionally gets the new first name ""Chase". Our friend and former Cardinal Couple Radio Hour contributor Daryl Foust gets it at times on both names...with "Darrell" or "Darryl" and "Faust". 

The legendary "C.B."
Candyce Bingham 
We all remember Louisville WBB great and now Bellarmine assistant coach Candyce Bingham. I'm pretty sure she was referred to as "Candice" or "Candace" during her UofL years.
And, have you ever seen the Newburg Road university called "Bellermine"? I have.

Sheronne Vails saw her both her names misspelled during her time as a Cardinal WBB front-line star. "Sharon Veils" was the most comical I ever saw on her. 

"Sonja", "Sonia" or "Sonya" is another name that has several different version. I have a friend who refers to my wife as "Sondra". 

Ah, the lucky ones....UofL WBB has had eight "Smiths". six "Jones" and five "Johnsons". Surprisingly, the WBB roster has never had a "White" or "Black", though...and only one "Brown"....when it comes to common last names. 

The WBB Cards officially add two "Smiths" this year in Kianna and Ahlana Smith. The last name of these two shouldn't confuse anyone, but I foresee variations of "Kianna" and "Ahlana" ahead. I wonder if anyone will resort to the nicknames "A.S." and "K.S"...a spin-off of how Boston Celtics fans referred to two of their players back in the 1990's --  guards Kevin and Dennis Johnson, known as  "K.J." and "D.J." 

An old retort that went "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" was popular when I was a child. At this time in my life, I'll grudgingly endure the name variation...because sticks and stones present a pretty big danger. 

I'll end today with a Rodney Dangerfield line: 

"I never knew my name was Rodney Dangerfield for the first five or six years of my life. I always thought it was "Hey You!"  because that's how my parents referred to me." 

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive...


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Women's Golf and The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast -- Sunday Cardinal Couple

A Golf Goodbye?  Not So Much

The past few weeks, I've transcribed (from the graphic format posted on social media) the "Thank Yous" posted by the UofL Women's Basketball Seniors.  I thought that line of items was done, but then I saw a post by UofL Women's Golf with a message from Lauren Hartlage.

It was a pleasant surprise then, when I read it, and it wasn't a message of Thanks and Goodbye, but instead a notice of her intent to return to the links wearing Cardinal red and black.

Golf, despite having a significant official schedule in the fall, is considered a spring sport by the NCAA, and the bulk of the spring portion of the season has been impacted by Covid-19, and as such, Golf seniors, such as Hartlage, are being granted the opportunity to return for another season of play.

Lauren is one of the better players to come through the Louisville program and has prospects of playing on the LPGA tour as a professional, but has decided to return to UofL for another season.

Hartlage's message:

Dear #CardNation

Being a Louisville Cardinal the past four years has been the best experience of my life.  We have made great progress as a team and this year was no different.  As our season came to an abrupt end this spring, I was devastated not to get the chance to finish my senior season.  When the NCAA announced that they would be granting spring seniors and extra year of eligibility, I knew this would be something I would want to consider.  After talking with my parents and coaches, I have decided to return to the University of Louisville for one last year.  I can't wait to tee it up next season and continue to represent the best university in the country!

Thank you CardNation for your support and #GoCards

I'm sure head coach Whitney Young, who will we be starting only her 2nd season as a golfing head coach was thrilled to hear of Hartlage's decision to return to UofL Golf, whenever such a season might occur.  Her return should bolster the prospect of the UofL program.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

A "full house" for the CCRH Podcast yesterday.  Jared got a break from the bank and joined Paulie, Case and myself for the hour.  As always, it's good to have the extra voice, perspective, and insights on the show.

The big topic was the layoffs and furloughs announced in UofL Athletics this week and prospects for playing fall sports.  It was a good discussion, albeit without a great deal of joy and excitement to share, though we did find a few bright spots.

Apologies for the 1:20 of silence at the start of the show. Our producer was asleep at the switch and finally figured out that our talking wasn't getting heard. It takes a village...

It happens every Saturday at 11 a.m.  We go to Skype and spend roughly an hour on UofL women's sports. We hope you enjoy the weekly "discussions". 

Check it out!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Soccer City Expands; DBK Teases Future Card -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville City Adds Women's Academy

Earlier this year (or was it late last year? Time is a mystery at this point) Louisville City FC announced the addition of a women's team to the organization, which would play in the NWSL. A bit later, the organization announced plans for youth academy teams that would bring the team in line with more of an international structure. Yesterday, news came out that the organization had formed an academy in line with the NWSL team (whose name is under reconsideration, by the way).

The new girls academy team will play as part of the ECNL (Elite Club National League) Girls division and is set to begin play this fall, all other things aside. The relevance to UofL, of course, is that the addition of an elite club team associated with a professional team provides area universities with the opportunity to scout top talent in the area as it is developed. In the press release, the ECNL boasts that 90% of alumnae move on to play college soccer. Last season, 1,100 ECNL alumnae were on college teams and 62% of players on Power 5 rosters had been part of the program.

Louisville has continued to grow as a soccer-centric city since the addition of Louisville City FC in 2014. The opening of the new stadium, when it finally comes, will give the city another spectacular professional venue, and the expansion of the organization promotes the game to everyone in the city. I'm excited for the future of UofL being able to find more players like Emina Ekic in their own backyard, and I hope that this new team can give more opportunities to players with talent but not necessarily the means to get themselves noticed.

Coach Dani Busboom Kelly Sends Cryptic Tweet

Late last night, while much of Sports Twitter was paying attention to the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft, UofL's head volleyball coach was sending "clues" out on a potential future Cardinal. Here's the tweet so that you can see for yourself

There are many ways to look at this one. Obviously, we're excited for a future Cardinal, but what does it all mean? In his retweet, Jeff suggested this is not likely to be a player for this year, as we've discussed how packed the roster will be in the fall. So the first question is when? A 2021 commit makes sense, so we'll assume that. The next major question is the "year round" enjoyment. Is this a player that will play two sports? Volleyball and basketball overlap, so that seems unlikely, but there is precedent. Gwen Rucker was the last dual-sport volleyball player for UofL and she joined the basketball team late after volleyball season had ended. Payton Verhulst was a great volleyball player but I doubt she would give up any amount of basketball season since making that her primary sport in high school. 

The other possibility is that this is another year round personality. We have seen plenty of those at UofL and we certainly enjoy them. Players like Celene Funke and Jaz Jones made sure to make themselves known at every UofL sporting event possible. Until we know more, though, we'll have to continue to speculate. Either way, a player that makes a coach excited enough to tweet something so cryptic is bound to excite the fan base in the future.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Another week has come and gone so it's time for another Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. Jared will be back with us after his time at the bank, so we'll have a full "house" for the first time in awhile. There has been a lot of news this week so be sure to join us as we discuss the happenings over on the Belknap campus as well as the joy and excitement of Louisville Women's Athletics. Tune in at 11AM to the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel to watch the show live or at any time after for the rebroadcast.

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, April 24, 2020



Yesterday (Thursday) was a rainy day in Louisville, KY. A day where Sonja and I could not do anything related to our we spend a lot of days lately -- working outside in the gardens and on the lawn. 

A check of the scheduled/cancelled events revealed that Louisville Softball would have been getting ready to host NC State in softball. Lacrosse would have been involved in the ACC Championships. So, I invited Sonja to hop in the car with me, take a drive to the Belknap Campus and have a  "look-see" of what was going on around Floyd Street. 

We did not leave the vehicle much. All photos were taken out the window. We took face masks with us and had hand sanitizer with us. We did not encounter anyone on our trip, much less get within six feet of anyone. 

My photography skills are nowhere near the legendary Jared Anderson's, who is one of our  Cardinal Couple columnist and our  photographer. The pictures were taken with a Verizon cell phone.  

An empty, desolate campus.  We look forward to the day when student-athletes return and events are taking place. 

The first picture is of the main entrance (Kueber Center) where UofL WBB, MBB and Lou. Lacrosse coaches access their offices and players go to the practice facilities, locker rooms. It is also where the media room is. 

I probably couldn't count the number of press conferences, post game interviews I've attended here over the years. 

I miss hearing "Walz Words". "Teeter Talks" and "Mack Monologues". I miss hearing student-athletes address the media corps about events, achievements, results and future contests and aspects of their lives. I miss having Nick Evans or other asst. S.I.D.'s greet me at the door as I go to the media room.

 Now, the sign on the door greets you

I miss heading to the second floor of the "little Yum" to visit the WBB offices or cut through the WBB lobby to visit the Lacrosse coaches and staff. A few casual, friendly words  and exchanging greetings with Kate  Tucker, Patty Norton or other coaches and staffers before I reach my intended destination that that day. 

The Louisville Lacrosse Stadium in next door to the Koeber Center as you head south on Floyd Street and that was our next stop.

This view is of the bleachers and press box on the west side of the stadium. The scoreboard is in the far distance. 

It seems strange not to see the "Yellow Shirts" (Cards Care personnel) there, to exchange a few pleasantries with me as I would head to the press box. I  would walk past fans in the stands. A lot of them parents of the Cardinal Lacrosse student athletes, who I got to know and would stop and chat with.

There were also student-athletes from other sports in the stands, there to cheer on their classmates and friends. A nod and wave to them as I walked. Sometimes getting them to pose for a photo with me.

The next picture on this rainy, cloudy day shows where goalkeeper Rachel Florek would be positioned for half of the game, defending the goal against opponent shots. 

Something she did quite well. 

Louisville Lacrosse was 5-4 when the matches were ceased. 

Continuing south on Floyd Street takes you to football's home -- Cardinal Stadium -- and the Trager Center -- Louisville indoor practice facility. The Thornton's Center for Academic Excellence is on the South side of Cardinal Stadium. 

Football practice fields are on the north side of Cardinal Stadium. This picture shows them empty, but still being maintained. It's strange not to hear the coaches imploring their players to "hustle", do better or other terms of encouragement, instruction or advice.

The Trager Center is west of the football practice fields. It is the indoor facility where football and other athletic squads practice when the "elements" make outdoor practicing an un-viable option. I've seen players practicing in this building many times. The facility can even be used to stage scrimmage and exhibitions. Our staff has watched soccer scrimmages in here in past years. Out in front of the Trager, I remember attending a "markdown" sale of UofL Athletic ware. I got a great pair of athletic shoes for a fraction of the retail cost. 

This is one of the spots where people who are attending football games enter the facility. I chose the media entrance gate on the west side of the stadium.  

Credentials are checked here and the elevators that take riders to the press boxes, Brown and Williamson Club and other spots are located nearby. 

I can remember taking those elevators to softball banquets, football "signing day" parties and many other activities. 

Continuing south, we drove to one of the tunnels/underpasses that connect the parking lots for football. It is a significant tunnel, because it is where the football team stages their "Card March" before each home football game. 

Fans lining the red walkway to shout out encouragement to the football student-athletes as they walked by -- en route to the stadium is something a lot of you miss, I am sure. Seeing friends, other student-athletes and visiting the booths that line the walkway, too are things that'll be missed this September. 

Our next stop on our Floyd Street drive was to Lynn Stadium,  south of the football complexes. Lynn is the venue for men and women's soccer. The offices for both sports sit east of the actual stadium and are usually a hub-bub of activity.

Parking there is usually impossible on game day, or even just stopping by to interview Karen Ferguson-Dayes or a player, parking can be tight. 

UofL fall Sports used to have their "fall preview day" in this building and media would get treated to a lunch, hear from coaches and student-athletes who participated in fall sports and we'd get the chance to ask them questions. 

It was strange to look upon the field and the stadium and not see players warming up or competing in matches. This view is where I would exit from the contests, after interviewing Coach KFD and a a player or two. It is so strange to see those seats empty.

Jared, Case and I had some very memorable interviews on the pitch in front of the press box at Lynn. "Miss Kim" would set up the interviews while we would wait as a group for the interviewees to come over to us. I hope the interviews will resume soon.  I hope Kim and Karen Ferguson Dayes are doing well in these "stay at home -- social distancing" days. 

From there, we decided to take Central Avenue to Jim Patterson Stadium to get a couple of picture of the baseball facility, but, traffic was quite heavy and it was raining too hard to stop and get any pictures. So, I took a brief detour from our campus tour and headed to Churchill Downs. 

This is the entrance I usually go in when I attend racing at Churchill. The lot was open and we drove over to one of the Clubhouse entrances. It'll be empty here next week, a time where Derby Week is getting underway in normal years. There is a lot of construction going on in the Longfield Avenue lot, but the only person we saw was one employee picking up trash near the entrance. 

i wanted a couple of more campus shots, so we headed back to Floyd Street and went north. Using the McDonald's parking lot, I got a shot of Trager Stadium, where Louisville Field Hockey plays.

Empty bleachers. I took the photo from the gate where I enter to walk up the steps to go to the press box. 

We've seen some very memorable contests at "Trager" over the years. Back in the fall of 2019, we saw an excellent Justine Sowry squad play in early NCAA Tournament action. Not seeing players scurry back and forth on this turf, or the water cannons blasting the turf at halftime seems very strange and I got a bit sad while taking this photo. 

A short drive north on Floyd takes us to the S.A.C -- the Student Activities Center -- . I've dome countless interviews in this building where a lot of Cardinal athletic squads have their offices, where many S.I.D. personnel are located and where Louisville Volleyball practices and plays their home matches. 

Talks with softball, volleyball and other personnel are missed. Afternoons and morning of popping in Nick Evans or Kathy Tronzo's office to give them a visit are missed. I miss seeing Susan sitting at her desk inside the entrance to the offices on the second floor.  I look forward to those days returning -- riding the escalator to the second floor and starting an adventure.

No one bustling in and out the main entrance. The lone scooter sitting in the walkway, near Floyd Street. No crowds at the Starbucks that is adjacent to the S.A.C. 

We entered the parking garage south of the S.A.C. to try and drive to the top of the facility and get a photo of softball's Ulmer Stadium.

Unfortunately, we could not get up there. 

Not wanting to leave Holly's "playground" and "Funke's Field" out of our tour, I suggested we drive north on  Floyd and use the roundabout to head to the I-65 Arthur Street exit thoroughfare and take a photo of Ulmer from the right field berm. 

The rain had started coming down heavily again, but Sonja braved the elements to go stand on one of the "grassy knolls" and shoot our final photo. 

Standing behind the right field fence, she got this picture of Ulmer. 

Where fans would watch softball contests with their dogs. She stood right about where Alicja Wolny's historic blast landed when Louisville Softball defeat Valparaiso in the NCAA Tournament. 

That was a really good memory for me, so we decided to jump back on I-65 and head home. 

I look forward to the days when there will be events to cover on the Belknap Campus. To the days when it's safe to leave home again and there are no masks, gloves and distancing.

The days when there are crowds cheering and players celebrating. Until then, we wait patiently, hope for a vaccine and pray we don't fall victim to the Coronavirus. 


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Furloughs, What We Know -- Muffet Retires -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

What We Know on UofL Furloughs

It was already announced that UofL planned on eliminating positions and having furloughs with other positions.  Yesterday was 'The Day' for those in Athletics to find out.

UofL has kept this one under wraps pretty tight.  They did not release a list of those affected but a few of them posted about it or reached out to one of us.

I can confirm three folks in the photographer/videography area that had their positions completely eliminated.  There is one position with football I can confirm got let go.

Jeff Reinking was the senior photographer.  Fred Reynolds was the senior videographer/multimedia content producer.  Clay "Point" Barnes was a videographer/multimedia content producer.

Assistant director of marketing, Chelsea Bemis was an assistant director of marketing.

Rachel Harris, who was with recruiting for football, was let go.

No coaching staff personnel have been furloughed yet, that we can tell. The furloughs saved UofL Athletics around $5 million dollars, according to reports.

There is also talk that an SID or two may have been let go.  Marketing is also rumored to have taken
a big hit.

There are plenty more people who may have been let go or had their positions furloughed that we will hear about in the upcoming weeks.

I scoured through the GoCards staff directory but it has not been updated.

Some of these people were good friends of mine, Paulie and the Cardinal Couple staff and we will miss them. We hope we can say "further down the road, my friends" instead of "goodbye".

I do know that the money owed to Bobby Petrino played a factor in the decision with budget cuts.

Our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the COVID-19, budget cuts, and layoffs.

Muffet Retires

Muffet McGraw announced on Twitter yesterday that she is retiring.  She had been the head women's basketball coach at Notre Dame for 33 years.

"It has been my great honor to represent the University of Notre Dame these past 33 years, but the time has come for me to step down as your head basketball coach," McGraw said in her Twitter statement.

Many UofL fans, like myself, expressed joy at the news.  Muffet was notorious among UofL fans for several reasons, including not recognizing Asia Durr as the ACC Player of the Year a couple years ago.

Notre Dame was coming off a 13-18 record in the 2019-2020 season and was not going to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Notre Dame quickly announced the hiring of Nicole Ivey within an hour of Muffet's statement, meaning that this was not a spur of the moment decision, and all parties had known for quite some time.  Ivey is a former player and assistant coach for Notre Dame, and was most recently an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies.

McGraw had a base salary of $1 million, but had the potential to make up to $2 million with bonuses
and incentives.  Budget cuts among athletic departments may have played a part in her departure, as Notre Dame Athletics is most likely trying to find ways to save money.

Or, as I like to think of it, Muffet McGraw couldn't handle a losing season and constantly finishing behind UofL and called it quits.  She is worthy of her Hall of Fame honors based on her accomplishments over her 33 years.

The "new" era for Notre Dame women's basketball has begun.

Below: the three-minute, final interview she did in the KFC YUM! Center back in Feb. after UofL WBB put a 33-point drubbing on them.


Continue to do your best to stay safe and healthy.  Happy Thursday and Go Cards!


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Will Fall Sports Move to Spring? -- Tyra Talks Furloughs -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Will we see crowds like this again anytime soon? 
The subject of Fall Sports at colleges and Universities is a hot one in message boards, general sports chatter and starting to be addresses by a few of these entities.

A lot of the decisions, obviously, are going to hinge on how well the nation recovers from the COVID-19 Pandemic. And, will their be a "second front" of the virus escalating as cooler weather returns this fall? When will the nation "flatten the curve" we hear so much about? 

(Just thinking about a "flat curve" brought a random thought to mind. When will we see Celene Funke jump on a "flat curve" from an opposing pitcher and take it to the fence in Ulmer for a triple? 

We cover women's sports, as you undoubtedly know, here at Cardinal Couple. Me and the other three writers here spend our fall, during normal circumstances, covering women's soccer, field hockey, golf, track and field, swimming, the start of volleyball and several other DI activities that UofL participates in. 

The ACC has not yet issues any official policy on fall 2020 sports. A lot of that, obviously, has to do with students being able to return to campus in the fall. Social distancing requirements in the fall are unknown yet, also. Fan attendance is a big question mark, too. 

Will Jared be able to get pictures like this anytime soon? 
As columnist, reporters and photographers...we spend a lot of time in the fall in press boxes covering events and on the field with photography and post-game interviews. Press boxes can be crowded venues. Women's soccer, for example, usually has about a dozen staffers and sports information people "in the box", plus a public address announcer. Score-keeping, scoreboard management, statistics, social media and other activities essential with the efficient running of an event are needed. Add in a few reporters and social distancing spacing becomes almost impossible with that many people "in the box". 

Television broadcasting for soccer isn't affected as much, they have an adjacent room next to the main press box. 

Will Paulie be tweeting from press boxes this fall? 
Field Hockey is a bit different. The same amount of staffers and sports information people are needed, plus a few journalists are usually on hand. The broadcasts for Field Hockey are emanated out of the main press box, too -- not a separate facility or adjacent room. I suppose the announcers could be relocated to the roof of the press box or the stands -- this has been done in past seasons -- but the Field Hockey press box is smaller, at Louisville, than the soccer press box and social distancing could pose quite the dilemma.  

I would hope that the several photographers at these two events would still have access to the sidelines to get their pictures. 

One University president has already discussed the matter, and then walked back on his original statement. 

Tom Katsouleas, the president at UConn, got the pressure cooker steaming when he addressed the possibility pf fall sports being cancelled due to the coronavirus, while speaking to a university class, via NTI. 

Will this scenario be the new normal for sports attendance? 
"Current thinking is that likely fall sports will be cancelled -- with the exception of those sports that an be played at a safe distance." Katsouleas told a journalism class he teaches on Tuesday. 

UConn and Katsouleas both quickly pulled a "reverse" on the statement, though. A spokesperson for the University said:  "It was a misunderstanding about the phrasing of what he sai. Fall sports are still on". 

So, if they did consider allowing sports that don't involve close distances, would tennis and golf compete? 

Also, moving fall sports to the spring, as has been suggested, create an overload of athletic events for campuses? Let's say you have football, lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, softball, baseball, volleyball and women's basketball all scheduled, at UofL on a spring Sunday. All without a fan base. 

Will Touchdown Squirrel scenarios happen this fall? 
The big stir and public reaction over the misguided UConn presidential statement was obviously centered around Football.

Given UConn 2-10 football record for 2019, with wins over Wagner and UMass, it might be an act of kindness if they cancelled football at UConn to prevent any melancholy and depression for Husky Football fans. 

So, we wait and see. How will our nation's sports enthusiasts be by August? How will the Covid-19 virus be affecting our society? Time will tell...


Fresh off the heels of Vince Tyra announcing cost-cutting measures within the athletic department (coaches taking 10% pay cuts, budget cuts to individual sports of 15% and the freezing of non-essential travel and hiring), the next step in trimming the athletic department budget will be furloughs or other employee-based reductions. 

These will go into effect today. Tyra met with  announced sometime this week. In a meeting with with UofL athletics association board Monday, via video conference, the measures the athletic department is taking to deal with COVID-19 closures and cancellation was discussed -- although no specific information has been released yet. 

A look at the UofL athletic staff directory shows around 325 individuals associated with Louisville Athletics -- ranging from athletic administration to Volleyball (in alphabetical order)...covering 40 different categories. 

We get it, we understand it. Jobs are disappearing everywhere. Just look at the unemployment numbers. 

UofL Athletics anticipates generating less revenue than originally projected. Through March, UofL athletic expenses were $1.5 million more than this time last March.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the Athletic Department employees who will be affected by the upcoming furloughs. 

It would certainly appear that those huge buyout packages to Jurich, Pitino and Petrino are taking a toll.