The city of Louisville woke up on Friday morning to a dense fog. There were weather advisories due to the low visibility….. it was difficult to see exactly what may lie ahead.
Later in the day though the fog lifted….. and it became a perfect day. Perfect temperature. No clouds, low humidity. And at Louisville Live! at 4th Street Live! new Louisville coach Chris Mack noted the perfect weather:
“What do you think about this weather we are having tonight? It’s sort of funny because when we came here we heard about all of these dark clouds around the program. As I stand here at the end of September…. I don’t think it’s looking too bad.” – Chris Mack
Not too bad at all.
Friday night at 4th Street Live! the fan base was rewarded with everything they’ve been asking for. They had fun, there was great energy, the players, the coaches and the program itself was accessible. This was an inclusive and well-thought out event geared towards the fans…… and of course showcasing the fans to the recruits in attendance.
Louisville spared no expense. The Louisville marketing department came up with inventive ways to make sure that 4th Street Live! felt like home. And it did, it felt like a UofL venue. Small touches like sticking the Bird logo in the “O” of LOVE of the Hard Rock signage and other ways of integrating “Cards” and UofL logos throughout the bar district. Vince Tyra, Chris Mack and Lottie Stockwell did an outstanding job conceptually and in the execution of the inaugural event. The fans needed it… and they got more than they were expecting. If nothing else it’s a sign that big events are going to be given ‘big event thought’.
The night was outstanding. It was the red carpet. It was Chris Mack coming out of that fog in a “LOUISVILLE” starter jacket. It was the Ladybirds, Jeff Walz and his Final Four, it was Vince Tyra shooting from the foul line. It was Jordan Nwora winning the 3-point contest AND Knockout. It was Darius Perry wearing a Darrell Griffith jersey & getting perfect tens and winning the dunk competition in a Donovan Mitchell jersey. It was Akoy Agau coming out to Vanessa Carlton’s 1000 miles and saying that he was beginning his ’13th year of college’. And it was a unique environment at an outdoor venue with a roof but the weather was so perfect the event could have been held in front of Grawemeyer or in Seneca Park.
The energy of the program with Chris Mack as the head coach of Louisville Basketball is undeniable. He hasn’t coached a game in the red & black yet, but it is certainly a long way from those clouds. When Mack was hired national columnists and recruiting experts said he would struggle to recruit to the program with so much uncertainty. Other folks wondered if Chris Mack could win over the fan base. Some wondered if he could win.
Here in late September practice is about to begin. Chris Mack has 5 top flight commitments for his program (maybe another?), with 4 commitments in 4 weeks. The fans at 4th Street Live! had a basketball related PRIDE that we haven’t seen in a long time. And Chris Mack has already won at Xavier, the wins at Louisville will come. The players are coming the fans are on board and the fog has been lifted from the Louisville Basketball program.
Now it’s just time to play. And as I stand here at the end of September…. I don’t think it’s looking too bad.
Louisville Basketball is fun again.
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