LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After fans rushed to buy more than 12,000 of University of Louisville Coach Rick Pitino's new Maker's Mark commemorative bottles last week, a Cardinal controversy arose. In less than a minute, their hopes of getting his signature blew up on-line.
Thursday night, 700 lucky fans who got tickets on the internet got a chance to have their bottles signed by the Coach. And if Pitino gets his way, it may work out for everybody. He said he wants to help the fans who missed out on the signing if he can.
Wearing comfortable shoes and Cardinal red, a massive line began forming outside the KFC Yum! Center Thursday hours before the event.
Nathan Merrell got to the 5 p.m. signing at 11 a.m. to be fan number 3. "I followed the football team to New Orleans," Merrell said of the Sugar Bowl BCS win, "Hopefully we can cheer on another one this season and repeat as Basketball National Champions next year."
With tiny wish lists like that, bottles in hand and the sun bearing down, fans weren't taking any chances of sweaty palms. Backpacks, shoe boxes and special bubble wraps were a precaution for the precious Card cargo.
Despite the wait, the 700 fans felt lucky to stand in line after hearing thousands of the Cardinal Faithful lost out on the signing event, when it sold out in less than a minute.
Just like sold out concerts when tickets go fast, fans had no idea the demand was so great. A CBS Sports website sold the 700 tickets still, Coach Pitino wants to help. "I know a lot of people got shut out of this and I'm going to make time throughout the summer," Pitino said, "We'll give them a weeks announcement (notice) to go somewhere and sign another 300 to 400 at a time so, I'll make sure I get to them."
The coach was impressed by the dedication of fans and he's ready to get back to work for them. "I'm excited to get the season going, I've celebrated (the National Championship) enough now," he laughed, "I want to get going again."
Pitino's third Maker's Mark bottle celebrates that Cardinal National Championship. The other two are for Big Blue and yes, some Cards fans also have the UK bottles in their collection.
Jonathan Rideout said he had the UK acid wash denim bottle.
Maker's Mark and the University of Louisville teamed up to make sure the money from the bottle sales helps fund the 8 million dollar U of L Academic Center of Excellence for student athletes.