The following was written by former Louisville kicker and 2006 Lou Groza Award winner Art Carmody
A few quick notes before we get started:
-I agree with Mike's comments a week or so ago about this being a weird season. It most definitely was strange, and although some may consider it a disappointment that the team didn't go undefeated or get to a BCS bowl, I am proud of the Cards for the season they had. It is incredibly hard to go undefeated. They now get to enjoy it in a Florida bowl game against a quality opponent.
-Teddy was so much fun to watch and what a heck of a player. Him getting left off the first team and not being named conference player of the year really pissed me off.
-John Wallace, Ryan Johnson, Matt Nakatani, and Grant Donovan are awesome. They all four have recently been voted coolest guys on campus in a unanimous decision for the second straight year. Well done guys, keep up the good work.
When reading news and notes this past week, I noticed that I was given an ultimatum of either writing about my time with Howard Schnellenberger or being heckled by Mike for all of 2014. This was a very easy decision because nobody, and I mean nobody wants to be heckled by Mike for an entire calendar year. During my time at Louisville I would prepare for road game pressure kicks by imagining that 50,000 Mike Rutherford's were heckling me from the stands. Rumor has it Jason Hanson added five years to his career by doing the same thing.
This past Tuesday I had the privilege of attending the Lou Groza Award banquet in West Palm Beach, Florida. The award is presented by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission (PBSC), and they put on a first class show.
When I arrived at the banquet I was immediately greeted by George Linley, the executive director of the PBSC. After an initial conversation he gave me the number of the table I would be sitting at, which oh the by way, was where Howard Schnellenberger was sitting. I had briefly met Howard at a 2006 Orange Bowl practice and was (obviously) looking forward to speaking with him again.
Howard and I immediately got a conversation going with the topic of Paul Gering. Coach G was one of Howard's first hires when he arrived at U of L. After a few Coach G stories where I expressed my affinity for the old coach, Howard came up with the idea to call him, but thought we might not get an answer because "He's probably asleep." It was only 7:15 p.m. and was an obvious joke about how Coach G goes to bed early, even though it was hilarious to me because Schnellenberger was exactly correct.
Coach Schnellenberger pulled out his iphone and dialed Coach G, but did not get an answer. I thought I would try to one up him by dialing Coach G from my phone and getting an answer. After leaving a message, Coach Schnellenberger found the perfect opportunity for a challenge. He turned to me and said "Let's see if he calls back, and if does, who he calls first. We will find out who is more important." After about two minutes Coach Schnellenberger's phone lit up. Needless to say he was pleased at his small victory.
A few quick highlights from my time with him at the banquet:
-He was excited about the bowl game against Miami, and seemed pleased that people were referring to it as "The Schnellenberger Bowl."
-He is a huge fan of the Brohm family, and was happy they won the first Howard Schnellenberger Family Award recently. Even though I already knew everything about the family from living with Brian for three years, I indulged him in his history lesson about the Brohms. He went on and on about the family and you could tell they have his ultimate respect. I agreed with him 100%, but what I really wanted to tell him was that they are a great family except for Brian, and that Brian was adopted. I am obviously just kidding about Brian being adopted, but I really did want to say that just to see what his response would be.
-We got on the subject of what Coach G eats for breakfast every day, and he told me that in the early seasons coaching at Louisville the coaches would always go to a Waffle House far away from campus after games because "we were so bad, so terrible, that we figured we would go to this Waffle House so far away from campus so nobody would see us."
-He was a master on his iphone, but I couldn't tell if he was checking messages or playing candy crush or angry birds.
-He was a fan of the chicken dinner that was served; he only had a few bites of his pecan pie though.
-They started the banquet with the music video of Kenny Chesney's "The Boys of Fall," which got a few comments from Coach Schnellenberger. In response to a clip of Woody Hayes: "He always rolled up his shirt sleeves and wore a real short tie. Don't know why he liked the tie so short, but it was a short tie." After a clip of Joe Namath: "Joe Willie...heck of a player." And at the very end when they show the clip of Bear Bryant giving a speech and looking at the chalkboard: "Bear's probably thinking to himself, what the hell did I just say?!"
-I mentioned to him that I was on the team in 2005 that faced his FAU squad inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. That was the game where the school re-named the football complex after him. He didn't remember much about the game other than losing it, but did note how surprised and honored he was that they named it after him.
-Like I mentioned earlier, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and the Orange Bowl Committee put on the Lou Groza Award. There are quite a few people involved that are associated with Miami and FAU. Just like how Louisville fans respect what he did for the program, the feeling is mutual from these fan bases and it was very obvious from my conversations that night.
-I wanted to take a picture with him for visual proof, but about halfway through the banquet he just got up, said goodnight, and walked out. I guess when you are Howard Schnellenberger you can do whatever you want, and after the coaching career he has had, he most certainly can. He has taken over football programs left for dead and turned them into winners. I was honored to sit and share stories with one of the best coaches in college football history.
I would like to send a special congratulations to Mike Rutherford on his recent engagement. He definitely out kicked his coverage on this one, and she is a very special lady who makes incredible football shaped cookies. Also, I already called dibs and got permission to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the wedding ceremonies. I am going to go with the Hideo Nomo windup to make it as long as possible.
Wishing you all a very happy holiday season and all the best in 2014. Go Cards! Beat Kentucky! Go Cards! Beat Miami!