By ASHLEY ANDERSON
When youâ€™re ready for the best city in sports, go Louisville.
It was this theme which echoed throughout the third annual Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) breakfast, held the morning of Dec. 7 inside the KFC Yum! Centerâ€™s Spirit Room.
Nearly 300 business leaders and professionals gathered to enjoy a delicious buffet and discover new and exciting activities from the LSC. Vice President of Communications at Churchill Downs John Asher served as the emcee, while Hall of Fame Jockey Pat Day; Chairman of the LSC Board of Directors John Hamilton, a CPA and principal with the Cost Reduction Group; Karl Schmitt, LSC executive director; Anne Kordes, University of Louisville head volleyball coach; and Steve Higdon, immediate-past chair of the LSC board of directors spoke before the crowd.
From the NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships to the LSC Half Marathon and Pure Tap 5K, Schmitt highlighted several of the LSCâ€™s accomplishments throughout 2012. He also divulged details of the upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, an international event taking place next year at Eva Bandman Cyclocross Park off River Road.
â€œThis is the first time these championships in their 60-plus year history have ever been held outside of Europe,â€ Schmitt said with pride. â€œThey will be in your hometown on a plot of ground just upriver from here, Feb. 2 and 3.â€
Following Schmittâ€™s speech, Kordes delivered a fiery message about the NCAA Division I Womenâ€™s Volleyball National Championships, at the KFC Yum! Center Dec. 13 and 15. Coming off a record-breaking season at UofL, Kordes urged people to support the event in an effort to break an attendance record, despite the hometown team no longer in contention for a NCAA title due to a loss to Michigan in the second round of the tournament.
â€œWeâ€™re hosting the Final Four and itâ€™s a huge deal,â€ Kordes said. â€œFirst of all, we want to break a record … and the record is held by Omaha, and thatâ€™s when Nebraska was actually in the national championship match. Well, weâ€™re close to beating those ticket numbers without a hometown team.â€
While volleyball and cyclocross were a main topic of discussion during the breakfast, a certain announcement in the realm of football is what many anticipated the most.
Toward the end of the ceremony, Asher announced the four finalists of the 2012 Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, given to the most versatile player in major college football.
Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky University, Dri Archer of Kent State University, Tavon Austin of West Virginia University and Marqise Lee of the University of Southern California were chosen by a vote of 16 media members and football personalities, as well as an online fan vote.
Fans can show their support for Andrews, Archer, Austin and Lee with online voting for the Paul Hornung Award winner at www.votepaulhornung.com. The final fan vote will count as the equivalent of a selection committee member. Fan voting will end on Jan. 7 at noon.
The winner of the Paul Hornung Award will be announced on Jan. 8, with the recipient honored at a banquet in Louisville on Feb. 15. Stanford linebacker and fullback Owen Marecic won the inaugural award, followed by Georgia defensive back, running back and return specialist Brandon Boykin.
Considering all thatâ€™s come to town recently â€“ whether cycling, UofLâ€™s joining with the ACC or a national award recognizing excellence in football â€“ Louisville is quickly becoming, arguably, the best city in sports. And, the LSC is, in large part, reason behind that success. â€œI think (the LSC is) a great organization doing an important thing, mostly because it brings outsiders to Louisville on a regular basis,â€ said Tori Murden McClure, president of Spalding University. â€œAnd they get to see what a great city we have and what opportunities there are.â€
For more information on the LSC, visit www.louisvillesports.org.
Contact writer Ashley Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 502.498.2051.