Success of Cardinal sports has big impact on University - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Success of Cardinal sports has big impact on University

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Dr. James Ramsey Dr. James Ramsey
Jenny Sawyer Jenny Sawyer

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The University of Louisville is on a major roll in athletics, creating the kind of excitement prospective students and donors can't get enough of.

"Unbelievable," that is how University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey describes the recent success of the men's and women's basketball and the football program.

Who knew Ramsey would be summing-up another victorious athletic follow-up to the Sugar Bowl victory over Florida.  Both basketball teams are in the NCAA's Final Four, not to mention the men grabbed the Nation's heartstrings with the injury turned inspiring story of Kevin Ware.

Ware's story took center stage on ESPN, NBC Nightly News and even had the First Lady calling.

Jenny Sawyer, University of Louisville Executive Director of the Office of Admissions tells WAVE 3 News winning has a big impact at the University of Louisville. "What athletics does for us every day is it puts our name out there," she said.

Ramsey added, it is the kind of publicity money can't buy. "We're in the middle of a Capitol Campaign and it gives us access to donors who are excited and alumni who are excited," he said. In Indianapolis, donors and alumni took part in events and dinners and that will continue at the Final Fours in Atlanta and New Orleans.

This week happens to the busiest week of the year for the Office of Admissions with many visiting students. Sawyer said the recent exposure of Cardinal Sports is the most visible way to promote the University and it's getting students to look closer at the academic programs, "The Internet and social media drive students to knowing about your institution, but final decisions are really made after a student visits a campus."

Endless state-of-the-art sports complexes on Campus stand as symbols of success from soccer to softball and baseball to swimming - a sport the Cards just won a National Championship in.

It speaks volumes about what Athletic Director Tom Jurich has accomplished in 15 years and the magic he continues to create.  Head Men's Basketball Coach Rick Pitino joked of all of Jurich's amazing recent sports successes, "If our horse ever does get to the Derby," he laughed, "Tom Jurich is showing up at that barn and he's back there because he's the luckiest son of a gun I've ever seen in my life."

Another example this year? A school that doesn't have the same sports resume as Louisville, but certainly got a lot out of it's basketball program's achievements: Florida Gulf Coast University.

During the basketball team's run in the NCAA Tournament, they became media darlings, sales of school merchandise was on back order, a university website crashed twice and the Admissions Office reported a 400 percent increase in it's Internet hits and inquiries.

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