Cardinal coaches and fans say Hermann's departure is bittersweet - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Cardinal coaches and fans say Hermann's departure is bittersweet

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Julie Hermann addressing the media at the press conference announcing her hiring at Rutgers AD. Julie Hermann addressing the media at the press conference announcing her hiring at Rutgers AD.
Dan McDonnell Dan McDonnell
Arthur Albiero Arthur Albiero
Karen Ferguson-Dayes Karen Ferguson-Dayes

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The University of Louisville's second in command in the athletic department is the new athletic director at Rutgers University. Julie Hermann will take over the troubled program to become one of three female athletic directors currently in the BCS.

There's excitement on the UofL campus for Hermann, but the news is also bittersweet as administrators, coaches and fans know what a hit they're taking.

The motto of Louisville Athletics is "In Tom We Trust." Athletic director Tom Jurich is among the best in the country and that's evident when you look at the state-of-the-art sports facilities and the athletic successes. Most recently, the Cards have captured a BCS Sugar Bowl win over Florida, A men's basketball national championship and women's basketball national runner-up. For well over a decade, right beside Jurich and overseeing 20 of the University's sports programs was Hermann.

During a press conference Wednesday, Hermann told reporters, "I recognize what an extraordinary privilege it is to be the athletic director at Rutgers University."

"You see everything we've done on this campus and it's all about growth," said Cardinals head baseball coach Dan McDonnell, "it's all about recruiting, it's all about the future and I think she's a real catch for an athletic department for a major university."

"In my 7 years here," said Jeff Walz, the UofL women's head basketball coach, "she's been an integral part of our success that we've had with our attendance and just the growth of women's basketball."

Cardinals swim coach Arthur Albiero said Hermann sold him on the Cards, telling him he would have national champions on the team, a Top 10 program and a new Natatorium. She did it while showing him the old, outdated pool facility.

"We sat down at a Starbucks and discussed it for hours," said Albiero, who now has all those things, "and everything we discussed then, we've been able to build upon."

At Rutgers, Hermann has some cleanup work to do after the scandal involving basketball coach Mike Rice and his abusive behavior toward players, but coaches say if anyone can tackle it, it's Hermann, a person who likes to get in the trenches.

"That's not going to bother her," Albiero smiled, "they're going to get a taste of what Julie Hermann's like and she's going to walk in with great vision because she's a mover and a shaker."

Cards women's soccer coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes said of Hermann, "She's been on the road with us, she's watched us in action, she's seen us lose, she's seen us win and she's been through the good, the bad and the ugly." Ferguson-Dayes added, "She's been a college athlete herself and she's been a college coach and she's been an administrator, so she knows the ins and outs of athletics."

Hermann will also be sorely missed by supporters of women's athletics like Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and wife Madeline.

"We're disappointed to lose Julie Hermann from the university and our community, but were so proud of her and everything she's accomplished for athletics," Madeline Abramson said, "and Rutgers is very fortunate to have her leadership."

Hermann will lead the school in the American Athletic Conference in its transitional phase before Rutgers begins Big Ten play in 2014.

Jurich, who was out of town Wednesday, sent us this statement on Hermann's departure.

"We've been through a lot together and I will miss her dearly. She has earned this opportunity and I'm confident she will go to work immediately to provide Rutgers a positive direction and be a terrific leader. I'm so happy for her."

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