May 23, 2000
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
University of Louisville Director of Athletics Tom Jurich received the Citizens for Sports Equity 2000 Sports Leadership Award at the organization's annual awards presentation on Friday, May 19 at Graham Cottage on the campus of Transylvania University in Lexington.
Since his arrival in October of 1998, Jurich has been a champion of gender equity at U of L, upgrading funding and support staff for existing women's sports while adding three new women's sports -- golf, rowing and softball -- that began competition during the 1999-2000 season.
To meet the challenge, U of L had to identify over $1.5 million to implement the gender equity plan. U of L reallocated $750,000 from existing funds, gained $200,000 from parking services at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, and produced $600,000 from university general revenue sources.
"We want an athletic program that is strong across the board," said U of L Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. "We want all of our sports to have an opportunity to be competitive and win championships. I believe strongly in having a complete athletic department, not just fielding teams that meet prescribed numbers. The recent steps we have taken and our aggressive plan for the future will help every team develop toward championship-level competition."
U of L fields 21 intercollegiate sports programs. The Cardinals offer 12 women's sports including basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis, indoor track, outdoor track and volleyball. U of L's nine men's programs are baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming/diving, tennis and outdoor track.
The Cardinals are on target to provide substantially equitable participation opportunities, facilities and support for men's and women's sports to be accomplished by 2002-03.
In addition to adding the three women's sports, several elements of the plan have already been implemented including:
- upgrading the compensation for coaches in women's programs,
- elevating the field hockey coach to a full-time position,
- adding a full-time senior woman administrator,
- providing additional support to women's programs with new trainers, secretarial and marketing support, and
- providing increases for women's programs in operating, travel and equipment budgets.
Many facility concerns have been addressed as well including:
- moving women's basketball games to Freedom Hall and some volleyball matches to Louisville Gardens,
- moving field hockey to the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center stadium and the training and office complex, vacated by the U of L football team when it moved to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium,
- rotating practice times in Cardinal Arena and the Bass Rudd Tennis Center, and
- identifying boathouses and training courses for women's rowing in a cooperative community effort.
Perhaps the most visible facility improvements geared to aiding gender equity is the construction of Cardinal Park, located on the eastern portion of the Belknap Campus between Floyd Street and Interstate-65. U of L, which once lagged behind many universities in athletic facilities, will soon be among the nation's elite. Exceptional facilities are being constructed at a dizzying pace on or around the Cards' campus.
U of L broke ground on the first phase of Cardinal Park on Dec. 9, 1998, and the project has been on the fast track since. The Cardinals' softball field completed is first season at Ulmer Stadium, U of L's softball stadium. The track/soccer stadium and facilities building will be completed soon.
Additional facilities included in the first phase of the project include the Trager Family Field, an artificial turf field, Kiel Brothers Courts, outdoor basketball and sand volleyball courts, the Jewish Hospital Cardiopath, a fitness trail which surrounds the Cardinal Park site, a statue of U of L track/football legend Lenny Lyles, and the Fightmaster Playground, which will have equipment to accommodate all children, including those with physical disabilities. Fundraising and planning is also underway for a state-of-the-art natatorium.