Since taking over at Louisville in October of 1997, Tom Jurich has been the recipient of lavish praise from the rest of the country, grateful adoration from the U of L faithful, and an unflappable man crush from a Cardinal blogger. But on Monday he was finally honored for being what he truly is: the best damn athletic director in these United States of America.
Jurich received a standing ovation from his staff yesterday after it was announced that he had been named the 2007 Athletic Director of the Year by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal.
"Any time you win something like that you don't expect it," Jurich said. "I didn't see it coming. It's a great reflection of this department and the people we have working in it. That's who I want to enjoy the award. This award is not about me, and I mean that. I'm very humbled that they would even think of me. This award is for the community, it's for the state, it's for Southern Indiana and the people who have supported us and let us grow as quickly as we have."
Jurich was honored for a year in which the Cardinals sent representatives from 17 of their 22 sports to NCAA postseason competition, and had 12 teams that ranked in the Top 25 at one point in their seasons.
It was also fitting that the formal announcement was made on the same day that the Louisville baseball team clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament Super Regional for the first time in school history. First-year head coach Dan McDonnell was hired by Jurich less than a year ago after Lelo Prado bolted for South Florida following a 31-29 season.
I could go on and on about what Tom has done in the last ten years, but there's really no point considering that he's the coolest human being to ever walk the face of the planet and trying to narrow down a list of good things he's done in his life is completely arbitrary.
Congratulations on a much deserved award Tom Jurich, and please, for the love of God, return my phone calls.