Carmody's Corner: On the unsung heroes of Cardinal football

The following was written by former Louisville kicker and 2006 Lou Groza Award winner Art Carmody

I want to wish everyone at Card Chronicle a Happy New Year, as well as congratulate Charlie Strong on being named Man of the Year.  I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get an honorable mention nomination, but I will use it as motivation for next year (as I glance over at the Groza). 

For those who want to know how I come up with these, it's pretty simple.  After staying up most of Thursday night to type it up and send it to Mike to post (I don’t know how to post anything on Card Chronicle, so I just leave it Mike who I am just assuming is a technological genius), I try to think about my next topic over the weekend.  This week was different, as I have had this topic in the back of my mind from day one.  I wanted to discuss the people behind the scenes who are absolutely vital to making the football program run successfully.  A college football program is just like any other business; it has different departments that work together to make sure there is a winning product on the field.  The coaches and players get all the credit, but I wanted to mention a few who also deserve some recognition. 

Denise MurphyAdministrative Assistant to the Head Coach

Denise is simply the best.  She has been in the program for over 23 years and does an excellent job of handling everything involved with the head coach and the players.  Whenever I had a question about anything she would always point me in the right direction. 

Robyn Crume and Ali Denbow Recruiting Assistants

Robyn and Ali handle all of the different aspects in the recruiting process.  They coordinate official and unofficial visits and help send out letters and recruiting material. They also help the compliance department in making sure all of the recruiting is done correctly per NCAA rules.  From the time the season starts until national signing day, they work just as hard as anyone in the football program. They also help pass out the post-game snacks on away games. 

*Denise, Robyn, and Ali are quite possibly our biggest fans and support us through everything. Whenever I am back in Louisville for a game or just to visit, I make sure to stop by to say hello to them.  They might not get the credit that they deserve, but they are an integral part of the Louisville football program.

David SpinaDirector of Video Operations

Spina (I don’t think I have ever heard anyone in the program call him by his first name) handles all of the film for the team.  He breaks it down, loads it on the computers, and has everything ready to go each day for the coaching staff and players.  He also sets up everything at the hotels home and away for our meetings, etc.  He does a great job. 

Our Medical Staff and Trainers

This group consists of mostly students who put in a lot of time to help get injured players ready to play.  They tape ankles, fill water bottles, assist in treatments, etc.  I would like to give a shout-out to Clint Bray, who taped my right ankle (plant ankle) every practice and almost every game.  He was also my go-to-guy for movie reviews. 

Our Student Equipment Managers:

These guys are where this post idea originated.  Each week they were asking when I was going to mention them and this is the week.  I worked with my good buddy Patrick Beiting on this.  One reason was because he helped get a lot of the former managers involved and also because I am a big fan of the Beiting family.  From here I am turning it over to Patrick.  I will pick it back up with some stories that came from the managers themselves, along with their flag football team. Thanks to Kevin Eviston, Nate Francis, Joey Devore, Brandon Garvin, Jordan Tackett, Kenny Collopy, David Beuter, Ben Beiting, David Garvey, and Mike Eviston for going through their memory banks. 

* = Art Comment

The Following was written by Patrick Beiting:

First and foremost, I would like to thank Card Chronicle and Mike for inviting Art to be a guest blogger on a weekly basis throughout the season. As a frequent visitor to the site myself, I think it goes without saying how much of a treat it is to have Art's insights and fond memories come to life through his great storytelling.

And on behalf of my fellow equipment managers, his stories have not only been enjoyable to read but also a blast to relive. I've mentioned to Art before how nostalgic they all have made me as his attention to detail is impressive and sends me back in time as if I have taken a ride on the DeLorean itself.

Now you may be asking yourself who are these mystery managers and why should I even care about them. Well, in short, we are the ‘roadies’ of the football program and you should care because we share inside jokes with Art Carmody.

In all actuality the life of an equipment manager requires a lot of time and hard work (sick days don’t exist). Student managers, along with the student trainers who assist the medical staff tirelessly, are responsible for being at the football complex for all practices, games, and workout sessions. By my calculations, during the season it regularly equated to 30-40 hours a week, in addition to school full time.

The student equipment staff typically contains between 10-13 managers who work under the head equipment manager and aid the assistant coaches during practice and keep track of all the players’ equipment which meant we had to keep tabs on all the footballs, clean all the coaches and 125 players laundry every day, load the bus for away games and much more.

Now on a morning where all other sports chatter in the state of KY is focused on a particular UofL/UK basketball game (and rightly so), Art has opened it up for some managers of the past to provide some of our behind the scenes memories- and for that we are so thankful. We are very excited and hope to not disappoint… And in the words of UK’s forward Bret Bearup from their 1983 squad, "I know we’re gonna be sky high."

Chronicloids, we won’t be treating this like any other Carmody's Corner. We’ll be sky high.

My student managing days were from 2005-2008 and I witnessed firsthand the highest of the highs and arguably the lowest of lows for a UofL football program that I am exceptionally proud to have been a part of.

During my first two seasons I assisted Paul Petrino as he coached the wide receivers. People talk about Bobby Petrino and how fiery he was; well Paul was easily twice as fiery. I’m talking about a man who once punched a wall during a pregame speech and broke a few bones. Once I heard this, I asked him if his injury was worth it. He said, "Well we won; didn’t we?" We did win. We beat North Carolina 69-14.

Working for Paul Petrino kept me on my toes like you can’t imagine. It was during my first week of camp in 2005 and I was responsible for being the designated snapper as the receivers lined up in rows of three and released once they saw the ball move. It was hot and it was August and the nerves played a part too as I had trouble getting a good grip on the football. My sweaty palms failed me and the ball moved, although I did not snap it back per say. As this happened, Montrell Jones took off while the two other receivers in line remained still.  Paul then yelled at Montrell for not watching the ball. Montrell responded, "Nah, coach I got to get fast off the line- I saw the ball move. He can’t snap quick enough." Paul then looked at me and said, "I don’t want you snapping another (bleep) ball this camp! You hear me?!" I nodded and a senior manager then came over to relieve me.

Of course, I did not want to mess anything up during practice ever after that. So prior to every practice I made sure I discussed all the drills with him and knew exactly where everything needed to be and at what time. Coach respected that and we quickly developed a strong rapport, and he really was great to work for. But he sure did demand a heck of a lot out of you at all times. He rubbed off on the receiving core, as our guys were tough as nails. The way Jones, Tinch, Broderick Clark, Mario, Harry, Jimmy Riley, Pat Carter, Trent Guy, Scott Long all played on game days was a testament to how Paul prepared them during the week.

Practices provided many memories, as we typically would head out to the practice fields about an hour early to set up and then play some backyard football or baseball. The games always got pretty heated and to even things out Art would be the designated pitcher/quarterback at times.

Practices carried the same tone most days (high energy), and to break up the monotony of practice we loved having games. However we loved game days not for your reasons of drinking and cheering. We could never tailgate, as we needed to be at games about 5 hours beforehand. But our roles during the game varied from being ball boys, to fixing broken helmets, and setting up the locker room at halftime.

Yet for my second, third, and fourth seasons, my role was that as a coaches’ head set operator. I set up the coaches’ headsets in the booth and tested them before all home and away games. Then during the game I had the privilege of wearing a head set myself. We maybe had one issue in three years but it got taken care of quickly so other than that, I sat in the back of the booth and listened to all the action. I have a memory that I will always take with me and one I hope to share with my grandkids.

It was the infamous Blackout Game against West Virginia on November 2, 2006. During the first half of the game I had a new role as a note taker for a graduate assistant who was trying to detect WV’s defensive calls via a pair of binoculars. (Disclaimer: this is legal. The use of video equipment, like the Patriots, crossed the line and that is illegal.) After the first half we started to figure out some of what they were trying to do in hopes of discovering a blitz before it came.

With less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter and Louisville up 21-30. We had the ball and it was 2nd and 10 from our own 45-yard line. The grad assistant recognized the hand signals of the defense, checked my notes, noticed that it was indeed a blitz, told Paul in the booth, he then told Bobby through the head set, he then got Brian’s attention on the field, Brian changed the play. Then the blitzing defender allowed Brian to find a wide-open Jimmy Riley cutting across the middle, and he then went 40 yards to the WV 15 for a first down.

This was a highlight of the game as we went on to score a few plays later, and it was also a highlight for me as I felt like a bigger part of the team for that moment in time. I was in the booth for some great wins and some surprising blowouts that had us on both sides of the scoreboard. During those blowout losses I would just leave the booth and search for the finger foods in the media cafeteria and try not to sulk in the corner (buy I typically did).

I also heard many new combinations of curse words, and they typically made it into my "Phrase of the Game" that all the other managers looked forward to hearing after games. I also recorded and made notes of every offensive call that Jeff Brohm made and every offensive call Steve Kragthorge made. Unfortunately, however, my laptop from college crashed and we will never know the true ratio (manager joke).

I could easily go on and on, like the time I went frog gigging with Hunter Cantwell, but for the sake of your pregame basketball snacks I will stop and allow my friends to entertain with their memories. But let it be known that I will always hold my memories surrounding the UofL football teams in high regard because for four years it was like a family in the Schnelly. We had a ton of fun while also assisting in any way to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Joey Devore:  

Man I will always remember the day where I was ripped because of the Jugz Machine. I remember that shooting the machine inside the stadium was next to impossible because of the changing winds. Anyway, with special teams period approaching, I was practicing shooting the machine to simulate kickoffs. Well I had them dead on shooting from the opposing 35 down to the 4-yard line consistently. Well 10 minutes later it was special teams period and I drug that damn machine onto the field. Shoot the first one, barely goes 30 yards... Shoot another, barely reaches the 30 yard line, shoot another, and another, same horrible result. The wind had shifted making it next to impossible to get that thing to work. I was then greeted with several "Are you f*ckin kidding me?"'s. Later on in the evening I'm inside the Schnelly and happen to be on the phone with my mom walking down the hall. Who do I bump into?  Coach Petrino, who then starts mocking me being on the phone. I said, "c’mon coach, I'am talking to my mom."  His response- "Oh yeah? Is she telling you how to use that damn machine."

*As kickers we loved these days because it meant that we didn’t have to kick for kickoff coverage and kickoff return.  We would usually try to help Joey make sure they were perfect but this day the wind started shifting and as soon as we saw the first one on go out the machine I turned to Todd Flannery and said "we need to get ready because Joey is screwed."

Joey Devore: Another memory I had was with the great Josh Tinch. I was now spotting PAT/Field goal because Kenny no longer wanted to do it. This particular practice was the last practice of Tinch's senior year and the last Gator Bowl practice down in Jacksonville, FL. Anyway, I would spot the ball, Michael Sturgeon would snap it, Art would kick it, a manager (usually Kenny) would retrieve it and throw it back to me. I would then spot the ball and do it all over again.

Anyway, I had dropped one of Kenny's bombs to me and Tinch saw me drop it. He pulled me to the side and explained that if I would have just kept my eye on the ball the entire time, and then tucked the ball away under my arm, I would not have dropped it. I was just like "wow, here is a senior captain, on his last practice, trying to coach some manager on how to catch the ball."  He was just cool like that and was one of my favorites for all of the little things he did.

*Tinch is the man

Jordan Tackett (Head Manager in 2004 and 2005)

So how 'bout the head manager is helping spot skelly during the first week of practice.  Billy and Steve are spotting the ball and moving the cans and I'm shagging balls and throwing them back (because Joey throws like a girl) and practice had already been started over and it was hot. I had a pass fly over Broderick's head and into the other field. I went and scooped it up and there is Billy saying "throw it, throw it, throw it."  I was going to wait, but there he was with his hands in the air, so I heave it about 40 yards.  As soon as I let it go he turns his head and spins around for the next play. The ball proceeded to fly into the backfield as the play snapped off.

Coach Petrino stopped practice, blowing his whistle like it's his job, and he starts running toward the crowd of people in front of me screaming "Who threw it?  Who? That's an All-American QB and RB back there! I want to know now or I'll start this shit over!" So I manned up and said it was me.  He scrambled around and said,  "Who said that?!" so I ran over and said it was me and he turned and looked and blew his whistle and told me to get over here.  So I ran over and he leaned in and whispered to me "you don't pick up another f*%#ing football the rest of practice."  So I trotted back and about 2 hours later he grabbed me coming out of Coach Brohm’s office and said "nice throw, Chuck (Equipment Manager) teach you that shit? If you're lucky I'll teach you how to throw a football like a man tomorrow" then he smirked. The incident was quickly forgotten.  

Oh yeah and a short story- Coach Petrino’s second year, week 2, I am grabbing a package for him from UPS, and he wants it inside his office.  I run it up, set it down, and turn to walk off and he says "wait, open it up."  So I turn and open the box and pull out a poster-sized frame with a picture of the Louisville-Kentucky scoreboard from the previous week.  He had me hold it up, walk back to the wall, and then yelled for Paul Petrino to come into his office.  This thing was heavy and I am holding it up and waiting.  Paul comes in and they stand at his desk where Bobby reads the score out loud: "Louisville 28, Slapdicks nothing. I f*&$ing love it, those little smurfs didn't even score a point." They looked at me and said, "that is what winners do, kick their ass." He told me to set it down where he could look at it and as I was leaving he grabbed me and said "get used to it, we are going to kick their ass every year."

Bobby Petrino’s record against UK: 4-0.

Ben Beiting:

I want to piggyback on one of Jordan's stories about UK. Coach Petrino absolutely hates UK.

His first game as head coach for UofL is against Kentucky and in Lexington in 2003. He is already not happy because the game has been delayed for an hour and a half because of rain. It was a back and forth game, but we pulled out ahead in the fourth quarter. We go on a long drive to end the game. We get to UK's two yard line with I think about 6 seconds left. A timeout is called (I can't remember which team called it.) UK thinks we are going to kneel it because we already had a lead. This doesn't happen. I worked up in the coach's box with the headsets that year and I always set up a headset so I could listen to what Coach Petrino was saying. At this particular moment he tells Paul Petrino and the rest of the offensive coaches, "Let's punch it in on these mother f------ers!!" Coach P calls a running play and Lionel Gates runs it in for a TD to end the game. It was awesome!

I have continued on in the equipment management field as my profession. The group of student managers we had was the best I have been around. We had a good time but we got all of our work done efficiently. We were very self sufficient and dedicated. Not many groups of managers would take it upon themselves to unload an equipment truck at 4am like we did when we got back from Middle Tennessee State at 3:30am one game. It was a lot of fun working with my best friends.

David Beuter:

We were at the Gator Bowl and I think it was our first drive of the game. I am running footballs with Billy and I'm pretty excited because I get a front row seat.  It is fourth down, we fake punt, Kolby Smith is streaking down the sideline that I was on. I naturally start to sprint down the sideline to have a ball ready. Unknowingly while doing this I cut off the side judge blocking his view of the play. Play ends, I'm standing there and the side judge glares at me and says, "If you ever f-ing do that again, you are out of here! I'll kick you out of this f-ing game!" I was shocked. Needless to say I learned my lesson.

Mike Eviston:

I was speared to the ground by Antoine Sharp one practice when I was acting as a running back and Coach Whitt told him to take it easy on me because "this white boy looks soft."

Nate Eviston: 

I remember Coach Petrino’s quote before the Army game in 2004 to the team: "You guys are here to do two things: Get your degree, and kick some ass."

The Manager’s Flag Football Team: 

They were champions in 2006 thanks to the great Quarterback play of Kenny Collopy.  Although if you ask Joey Devore I am sure he will tell you that he was the best player on the team.  Funny story about their team name: Fully Equipped Trucks.  They had sent it in as "Fully Equipped" and then had to change it because the team name sounded a little too risqué.  They added "Trucks" on to the end of it.  They would always ask me to go to their games and would be like "we go to all of your games, you can at least come to ours." 

They were a lot of fun to watch and they made Hunter Cantwell and I coaches.  Ben Beiting was the head coach, Hunter coached the offense, and I coached the Special Teams (even though there is no special teams in flag football).  One of my favorite pictures is below of all of us (including some of our student trainers) after their championship win.  Hunter can be seen in the back with the leather helmet. 

Managers_medium

Thanks to everyone listed above for all that they do for Cardinal football.  The Louisville football program has had some great people working for it through the years.  It is the same for all of the other sports on campus. 

Go Cards!! Beat Kentucky!!

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