|Remember the Silos?|
Remember the question in job interviews: Where do you see yourself in five/ten years? How many times have we looked ahead to think about where we would be but never actually looked back to see where we came from over that same stretch? In just 10 short (or long) years, things at Louisville, especially with women's sports have changed drastically.
Before we look at how Louisville Athletics has changed over the last 10 years I'll do a quick reflection of myself involved with UofL over the last 10 years.
This time 10 years ago I was preparing to enter freshman year as a Cardinal. I was still a UK fan at that time. It's crazy to think my UofL fan blood has only been around for 10 years and my involvement with their sports even shorter!
|(...cleans up pretty well...)|
I was getting ready for band camp with the Cardinal Marching Band- my first ever Louisville game as a student or in band was a Louisville vs Kentucky football game. Oh, the irony. In that same stretch of few weeks, I had joined the Cardinal Pride Pep Band and my earliest memory of a women's sport was volleyball. What freshman boy wouldn't be in awe over Katie George?
In that span of 10 years, I quickly switched my allegiances to Louisville, spent many years in the band, attended hundreds of games, traveled the country to cheer on the Cards, worked as a student on campus, changed majors, graduated, changed "big boy" jobs, and somehow became deeply involved in Louisville Athletics media. I went from having my first camera and taking some pretty poor quality photos at games that you can find in really old posts on here to newer cameras (I just bought another new camera two days ago) and slightly better quality photos. Many of the action photos you see from recent games have my handprint on them.
But let's move onto Louisville Athletics in the last 10 years. Overall, the Cards were still one of the top schools in the Big East. The Big East days would come to a close before the Cards spent a year in the AAC and have since been a more notable name in the ACC for the last several years.
Tom Jurich was still Athletic Director. We have since seen Vince Tyra come in to replace him, followed by Josh Heird being named as the newest successor earlier this year.
No new sports have arrived to campus in the last 10 years, but many stadiums and facilities have had nice overhauls. Lacrosse got a press box. Field hockey just got a new turf. Volleyball moved from Cardinal Arena, to the KFC Yum! Center, back to Cardinal Arena, now known as L&N Federal Credit Union Arena. Soccer moved from Cardinal Park to Dr Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium. Basketball was just familiarizing itself with its new home at the KFC Yum! Center. Softball got a makeover with seating.
Women's basketball added three more Final Four appearances in the last decade. They have hoisted the ACC trophy four times through the regular season or conference tournament. They have had two ACC Player of the Year awards and have had numerous players go to the WNBA. Multiple assistant coaches have gone on to become head coaches or associate head coaches at schools such as Mississippi State, EKU, and USC.
Field Hockey earned its first ever trip to the Final Four. It has also won an ACC Championship and is one a few ACC schools to ever go undefeated in conference play in a single season. The wall of All-Americans grew significantly.
Golf has seen coaching changes. Whitney Young is in her third season at the helm. Her predecessor, Courtney Trimble, was brand new 10 years ago. The Cards became a near-lock for the NCAA Regional Championships each year including reaching the NCAA Championship final in 2018.
Lacrosse saw a transition from its first ever head coach to its current head coach in Scott Teeter. The Cards have spent plenty of time in the Top 25 over the last decade and has even grown enough to include primetime TV games at Cardinal Football Stadium. The presence of international players on the roster has grown a lot in that timespan.
Soccer saw a move from Cardinal Park to Dr Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium, lauded for being one of the premier collegiate soccer-only facilities in the country. The Cards have seen multiple NCAA Tournament appearances as well as a handful of players drafted to go pro. Two players were named to their respective conference Offensive Player of the Year with Emina Ekic in the ACC in 2020 and Christine Exeter in the AAC in 2013. There was also a beautiful 2-1 overtime victory over #1 North Carolina in 2015.
Softball saw its first ever coach Sandy Pearsall retire after having built the program from the ground up and being in charge for almost 20 years to seeing the hire of Holly Aprile. Ulmer Stadium had an overhaul with seating since that time and just revamped their lights to include nighttime UofL red lights recently. They have been to five NCAA Regionals in the last 10 years.
Swimming and Diving went from no women's championships to seeing two different women's athletes earn NCAA titles. Kelsi Worrell won back-to-back titles in the butterfly. She became the first woman in history to swim the 100-yard butterfly in under 50 seconds. Mallory Comerford raised the NCAA Championship trophy three times in her career at Louisville. She even tied with Katie Ledecky in the 200-yard freestyle at the 2017 NCAA Championships. Arthur Albiero has continued to help Louisville Swimming and Diving became highly decorated. Louisville also saw a big jump in its diving program and even sent a diver to the World Championships this past summer.
Track and Field went from sharing Cardinal Park with soccer to having full rights to the venue. They also partnered with the City of Louisville to add an indoor track and field venue in downtown Louisville so the program would have the option to host both indoor and outdoor meets. The field program has become one of the top in the country and the Cards saw their first women's outdoor individual champion when Gabriela Leon won the pole vault this year.
Volleyball has gone through quite a bit of change. Anne Kordes was early in her stint at Louisville as the Cards' sixth head coach in program history and was in the midst of winning four conference titles in six years before Dani Busboom Kelly came in behind her. Volleyball had gone from playing in Cardinal Arena on campus to transitioning to the KFC Yum! Center before a huge revamp and renaming of Cardinal Arena, now L&N FCU Arena, became the permanent home for Louisville volleyball. Under Coach DBK, Louisville has one multiple ACC championships and has made three Sweet Sixteen appearances, two Elite Eights, and a Final Four. The Cards became ranked #1 for the first time in program history en route to a 32-0 start to the season.
Here at Cardinal Couple, Jeff, Case, Daryl, and I have all joined Paulie's ranks as writers and contributors. Ten years ago, the writers were Sandy, Jenny, Paulie, Sonja, Phil and David Watson. Our time on "live" radio transitioned from a basement on a hill in Crescent Hill, to a studio/house in the Mellwood area, seeing that radio station closing and us transitioning to the ever-popular podcast format. The ACC Pick Em and NCAA Pick Em have both grown into popular events that have become highly competitive.
Things change over time and it seems like things have grown for the better over the last 10 years. With many bright moments ahead in Louisville Athletics, it's nice to take a moment just to look at how far things have come in the last 10 years and the insane amount of accolades and accomplishments have happened in that span.
Hopefully we can look back in another 10 years and see plenty more to brag about in that stretch.
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!