It has been an outstanding year for the University of Louisville in the world of college sports. And behind great athletic departments and teams are great athletic directors and coaches. At Louisville we have the best Athletic Director in the country in Tom Jurich and we have one of the greatest coaches in college basketball in Rick Pitino. Wednesday night these two men will be honored for their great achievements over the past year.
First Tom Jurich is nominated for Athletic Director of the year at the Sports Business Awards Ceremony. The Sports Business Awards, a night celebrating excellence in sports business, will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square in New York City. The winners among nominees will be announced live at this event.
Launched in 2008, the Sports Business Awards were established by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports. The 2013 nominees and winners are being recognized for excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports for the period from March 1, 2012 – February 28, 2013.
I don’t think anyone deserves this award more than Jurich and I don’t see how he doesn’t claim it. The other nominees for Athletic Director of the Year are Mike Holder Oklahoma State University, Mal Moore University of Alabama, and Jim Phillips Northwestern University.
Also on Wednesday night Coach Rick Pitino will be presented with the New York Athletic Club’s Winged Foot Award. The Award was established in 1996 by the NYAC and is presented annually to the winning coaches of the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournaments. The function will be hosted at the NYAC’s City House in mid-town Manhattan. The evening will feature a cocktail reception, dinner, speeches and the presentation of the Awards. Celebrated sportscaster, Billy Packer will MC the ceremonies, as he has done since the Award’s inception.
The Winged Foot Award came into being in the mid-1990s when the New York Athletic Club, an iconic presence in the world of amateur sport, noted that there was no official award to honor the head coaches of the victorious NCAA men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Club presented the first men’s trophy to Rick Pitino in 1996.
Two great men and two great honors. Good luck to Tom Jurich and congrats to Coach Pitino.
The University of Louisville continues their complete domination of the Big East Saturday as the baseball team wins the regular season title outright finishing the sweep of #16 Pittsburgh beating them 7-4. The Cards finish their regular season 46-10 and 20-4 in the Big East.
This is Louisville’s fourth Big East Regular Season Championship in 5 seasons (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013). They finish off their regular season now 31-5 at home setting a new single season record for wins at Jim Patterson Stadium (211-75, .736 all-time).
The Cardinals own the nation’s longest active winning streak at 16 games and it’s the second longest in school history, trailing only a 20-game streak in 1950. I’ve been hearing for weeks that Louisville will host a regional if it wins the Big East regular-season title; the Cardinals are up to No. 16 in the updated Warren Nolan RPI rankings, and their red-hot finish will look great to the committee. They’ll host count on it.
When Kentucky won the national championship last season they took their trophy on a tour through the back woods and Hollars of the Bluegrass state. The University of Louisville’s championship trophy has taken a different journey this off-season and it has been the symbol for many celebrations along the way.
Of course the trophy has made stops at the usual places, but it is the unusual places that have created the most buzz. The publications were in a frenzy when the trophy made a stop at a local tattoo parlor for Coach Pitino to get his “champ stamp”, then the trophy found its way on a fishing trip in the Bahamas with coach Pitino and his friends.
Today Total Frat Move news called Pitino the coolest coach in America as he took the national championship trophy for a spin on the town for his daughters 21st birthday celebration.
It’s great to see so many folks writing about the Cards symbol of excellence and it’s great to see so many celebrations being held around the trophy. Who knows where it’s going to end up next but by the time it reaches the Louisville trophy case it will have many stories to tell.
To continue my series looking at impact players that will be playing for the first time in the 2013-14 season today it’s Mangok Mathiang. I think he oozes with potential and think he could provide valuable minutes next season in the front-court. I think he will be a dominate player down low for the Cards before it’s all said and done.
(name is pronounced MANG-go like the fruit, with a silent “K” MATH-ee-ang)
Mangok Mathiang started his life in the war-torn Sudan but when he turned 5 his father decided to move him and his family to Egypt. The family soon realized that life there wasn’t going to be much better and they eventually ended up in Melbourne Australia. Soccer ruled in that part of the world and Mangok loved the game but by the time he was sixteen his height had reached 6 foot-5 inches and it was obvious what sport Mathiang was destined to play. By the time he was seventeen he was being offered scholarships by top US high schools.
Last August the lanky, shot-blocking Australian signed with the Cardinals but due to the NCAA’s strict rules, Mathiang was unable to produce his school transcripts quick enough and was ruled ineligible for the 2012-13 season. He was allowed to train with the team, and even got to show off some of his potential in last years Red & White game. It was very obvious watching him in those games that he is going to be a good one and he will make his way into the rotation this season.
Mathiang is a very long, active and mobile post player with great upside. He can score around the basket, rebound in his area and block shots on or away from the ball. As his skills continue to develop so will his production but the potential and upside are present.
Rick Pitino on Mangok: “Mangok is extremely quick and agile for a 6-10 player,” “He has a great future because of the way he moves at both the offensive and defensive ends. We’re excited to have him as a part of our program.”
In the West Indies, the expression “to go mango” means to steal another person’s mango fruits. There’s no doubt in my mind that after a few years in Louisville’s strength and conditioning program the expression “To Go Mango” will mean to steal another player’s basket. Because Mathiang will be a premiere shot blocker. There have been lots of comparisons between Mangok and Gorgui and the two have even been mistaken for one another around town. Just like Gorgui I expect Mangok to soon make a name for himself among college basketball’s best. The Mango is often referred to as the “King of Fruits”, before it’s all said and done “The Mango” will be the king of Louisville’s front-court.
Peyton Siva is not only one of the best point guards to ever play for the Cards but could be one of the best people to ever play for the Cardinals. His list of achievements on the basketball court is nothing compared to his personal achievements off the court. Peyton had to overcome some crazy setbacks and dysfunction as a kid growing up but it made him a remarkable human being. Peyton has served as an inspiration to many people and lives his life to make the world a better place.
Peyton was the catalyst for the Cardinals’ mile -a-minute transition offense when he took over the point guard starting job his sophomore season. The team relied on his speed to push the ball and his ability to distribute and find open 3-point shooters. While there were many moments that highlighted his Louisville career I will remember him most for that post season run when he lead the Cards to four wins in four days averaging 12.5 points and 6.5 assist for a Big East championship. He won the most outstanding player award but what he was able to do in those four days was amazing. He would average 9.4 points and 6.2 assist in the NCAA tournament that included that great 17-point game against Davidson also that year. And I will never forget his gutsy performance against Michigan that helped the Cards win their 3rd National Title. He finished his Louisville career as second all-time in assist and the all-time steal leader. He is also a member of the 1000-point club. His list of accolades is long and now he is moving on to that next phase in life.
Saturday Peyton started the new chapter in his life and walked across the commencement stage to get his degree as an academic all-American and in Kyle Kuric fashion proposed to his girlfriend. Sunday morning he and his new fiancé were baptized in front of the congregation at Southeast Christian church. Peyton will head to the NBA Draft combine on Wednesday.
Early last summer I got to spend a few moments with Peyton at one of the caravans. Not only did he give me his full attention and genuine interest I watched him do the same thing for many other fans that day. He really is a one of a kind. I will really miss this young man but I know that he is going on to do some amazing things with his life. Congrats, on your graduation, baptism, engagement, and good luck in Chicago Peyton. Keep making us all proud! L1C4
Coach Rick Pitino has had the year of his life. First as a father he got to watch his son have great success at his first coaching stop and then got to watch Richard parlay that into landing a Big Ten coaching job at Minnesota. Then he and the Louisville basketball team have a magical season winning the final Big East Tournament and a National Championship. While in Atlanta for the Final Four Rick got his name added among the greats and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
The road of the college basketball season ends at the Final Four but not Rick Pitino’s good fortune. After he got back from Atlanta he was able to enjoy the Kentucky Derby as a 5% owner of one of the Derby favorites. That horse wouldn’t win but it had to be a huge honor nonetheless. Then this week on a trip in the Bahamas with some buddies coach Pitino goes Marlin fishing and catches an 80 pounder.
So how do you put a bow on a run like that? Well around these parts you get your face on a Makers Mark bottle. That’s right Cards fans its time to add to the bourbon bottle collection as Makers Mark announced today that an upcoming bottle will feature Coach Rick Pitino. The bottle is the second of a three-year commitment by Maker’s Mark, that has pledged over $500,000 in support of the Academic Center of Excellence. 12,600 bottles will be available to the public, and details on how to purchase the bottle will be announced at a later date.
This Makers Mark series started last year with a bottle featuring Coach Charlie Strong. That bottle was a hot item last year and flew out of every Liquor Store store in the state of Kentucky. They sold over 8400 of the Strong bottles and will have 12,600 of the Pitino bottles available when released.
Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino had not had a break for months and decided to step away from basketball and Louisville after the Kentucky Derby celebrations had ended. Pitino and a group of friends headed to a remote island in the Bahamas for a little rest and relaxation. On this trip, Pitino and his group decided to do a little deep-water white marlin fishing. This was the first time Coach Pitino had tried his luck at the elusive fish. So what happens when coach sinks his lure for the first time? He lands an 80 pounder that’s what. How about the luck of this guy? According to the information I was able to look up the average size of the white marlin is 45 to 65 pounds and it is not a common thing to catch one bigger. I’m glad to see Coach P’s lucky streak is still intact and I hope it stays that way until around this time next year. Hat Tip to Jody Demling for tweeting out these pictures tonight. Great stuff!
Akoy Agau, a Sudan Native, moved to America in 2002. He lived in Maryland for a year before moving to Omaha, Nebraska, and was first introduced to basketball in Omaha. He became serious about basketball in 7th grade and has improved everyday since. The 6’9 senior out of Omaha Central High School was named the best prep player in Nebraska this past season. He was also named first-team All-State, earned the Omaha Journal Star Super State honors, and was named honorary captain of the newspapers All-State team. He led the Omaha Central Eagles to four class A state championships. Agau started for Omaha Central all four years of his high school career and averaged 12 points a game for his career.
He has been described by those who have followed his progress as an outstanding athlete inside the classroom and on the court. Coaches say that he is a very humble guy who could easily drop 25 a night, but he is very unselfish and is fine with what he gets. Akoy is also known for having a golden personality, being a leader to his peers and as a fan favorite. He participated in the Derby Festival basketball All-Star game and you could tell in just those few days of interaction with the Louisville media and fans that he is destined to be a favorite once he starts his Louisville career.
Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng were two of the most genuine and humble kids that have ever played for the Louisville program. And our program seems to be full of great young men of this caliber. It is very refreshing and rewarding to see our coaching staff continue to bring in guys that fit that mold. Everything I’ve read and seen about the kids we have coming in next season validates this. Akoy is going to be a special player on the court for our Louisville Cardinals and will also be a great person like those who have come before him.
Omaha Central coach Eric Behrens: “He’s a kid that loves the game,””He loves to get in the gym and work out. He likes to lift and he likes to do all the stuff not everybody likes to do. He really is a kid that you’d call a gym rat.””He is one of the most popular kids in school and is a true leader among his teammates.”
ESPN Recruiting analyst Dave Telep: “You can recruit a kid for his ability, but you don’t really understand what you’re getting until you get him in the locker room and see how well he does with the other guys,””Akoy is a kid like that. The physical stuff is all-important, but he’s got some intangibles, some people skills that are special. He’s a neat kid.”
I can’t wait for this guy to get to campus to start his Cardinal career. He has a very promising future ahead and will be joining a very promising Louisville class.
The College Baseball season is nearing the time of year when post season play will get under way. Today Baseball America broke down their scenarios on who will host regional sites and who is in and out of the college baseball playoff picture. Our Louisville Cardinals have had a very good season and made history with their 8th shutout victory of the year beating EKU today and are 38-10 heading into a big game hosting No.15 Indiana at Jim Patterson Stadium tomorrow evening at 6pm for Cancer Awareness Night. The Cards are currently ranked #10 in NCBWA poll, #12 in Baseball America Poll, #10 in Collegiate Baseball Poll and #11 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Below is what the folks at Baseball America had to say about Louisville’s post season chances.
SECURE TEAMS: The eight national seeds listed above; Indiana, Florida State
ON THE BUBBLE (IN): UCLA, Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Clemson, Louisville
“We’re sticking with Louisville as a second host in the Midwest (along with Indiana). The Cardinals remain in third place in the Big East (a game behind South Florida and Pittsburgh), but we expect them to finish strong (at UConn, vs. Pitt) and win the Big East regular-season title. They probably need to do that in order to beat out the likes of South Alabama and Kansas State for a hosting spot. Right now, the Jaguars are higher in the RPI (No. 16) than Louisville (No. 23), and they sit in first place in the No. 5 RPI conference. But Louisville has better records against the top 50 (7-4 vs. 4-4) and top 100 (15-5 vs. 10-10), and South Alabama has the more challenging schedule remaining (at Louisiana-Lafayette, vs. Troy). If one of those three Sun Belt teams emerges as the clear-cut top team in the conference during the next two weeks and the conference tournament, it could beat out Louisville (or a fifth ACC or SEC team) for a hosting spot. But right now, we still have more faith in Louisville’s talent, so we’re sticking with the Cardinals.”
PROJECTED BIDS FOR NCAA
Big East (4 bids)
SAFELY IN: Louisville
ON THE BUBBLE (IN): Pittsburgh, South Florida, Notre Dame
ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Seton Hall”
The folks at Baseball America do have Louisville as a current lock to make the post season NCAA. The only question seems to be if Louisville will play host to a regional site. The Cards still have some big games to make their case. If you haven’t done so yet try to get out and support these guys over the next couple of weeks. They have 4 home games left in the regular season including tomorrow night at 6pm against Indiana and then will have a 3 game home stand against Pittsburgh to end the regular season that starts on May 16th. The weather will be getting better and admission is free to all of the home games.
To read more from Baseball America’s article College Stock Report: Week 12 click this link.
Future Cardinal point guard sweeps the National Juco Player of the Year honors today as he was named NJCAA POY. Last week the future Card was named the NABC POY as well. The NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association announced their selections for the 2012-13 Player of the Year awards today and here’s what they had to say.
It’s very impressive to win one player of the year award but to win two is really a big deal. Jones was the most dominate Juco player in the nation for the last two seasons and now he is getting that validation. I can’t wait to see how that Juco domination transitions to the D1 level. Coach Pitino said in an interview last week that Jones will start in the back court with Smith next season.