Author Archives: Nick Coffey

Louisville Football Now Has Seven Signees From The 2015 Class

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Bobby Petrino and the his staff’s recruiting efforts paid off in a big way on Wednesday afternoon. Louisville has now officially added seven signees for their 2015 recruiting class.

Dec. 17 was the first day that junior college recruits were able to make it official and sign national letters of intent. Five junior college recruits and two high school recruits have signed and are expected to enroll at Louisville for the second semester.

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Palm Beach Wide Receiver Commits To Louisville

Photo: Petey Cautilli

Photo: Petey Cautilli

Bobby Petrino and the Louisville football program have been riding some serious momentum on the recruiting trail over the past week or so.

Louisville has picked up a total of six commitments in the month of December. The latest comes from the 2016 recruiting class.

Isaiah Johnson, a 6-foot-3, wide receiver from Palm Beach, FL., informed the Louisville staff of his verbal commitment on Monday afternoon.

Johnson doesn’t have an official star ranking just yet, but is one of the top up and coming prospects in the state of Florida.

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Louisville 68 – UNC Wilmington 58: Pitino Not Pleased With His Team’s Performance

Photo: USA Today Sports

Photo: USA Today Sports

In one of the sloppiest games of the early season, Louisville was able to squeeze out a 68-57 win over Kevin Keatts and the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks.

The former Pitino assistant had his team ready to play from the start. UNCW held a lead until the first TV timeout of the game. Fortunately Louisville found some rhythm and headed into halftime with a 32-28 lead.

Louisville extended their lead to 17-points early on in the second half and it appeared that they’d cruise to an easy victory, but Kevin Keatts’ team didn’t go down without a fight. UNCW put together a 15-0 run and cut the lead to just two points.

When it got close, Terry Rozier stepped up and made plays to help Louisville add some cushion to their lead. Rozier finished with a game high 19-points. Montrezl Harrell also had 19-points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

Getting the win was all that mattered, but Rick Pitino made it very clear following the game that he wasn’t cleared.

“We didn’t pass the ball as well as we did against Indiana,” Pitino said. “We hunted points and we paid the consequences for what happens when you hunt points. I’m really really proud of Kevin and his basketball team and I’m really disappointed in our basketball team.”

“Sometimes you have games like this and it’ll teach a valuable lesson to those in the locker room. If you don’t bring your style of basketball every game you play regardless of who you’re playing. I mean this is great because we would have lost to Western (Kentucky) tonight. No question about it we would have lost to Western. Now ego is out of that locker room and ego was edging greatness out and they’ll get back to earth and stop reading their press clippings.”

Louisville won’t be back in action until Saturday when they travel to Bowling Green to take on Western Kentucky.

Updated Highlight Video From Louisville Signee Donovan Mitchell

Kevin Keatts Had A Bigger Impact On The Louisville Program Than Most Know

Photo. UNCW Athletics

Photo. UNCW Athletics

Former Louisville assistant coach Kevin Keatts will return to the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday evening as his UNC-Wilmington Seahawks take on the Cardinals. Keatts is in his debut season as the head coach at UNC-Wilmington after spending three years as an assistant under Rick Pitino.

The infamous Pitino coaching tree speaks for itself. More than twenty former players or assistant coaches under Pitino have went on to become head coaches. Not only is Keatts the latest to make the leap, but he may end up being one of the best former Pitino assistants when it’s all said and done.

“Kevin is going to do a great job.” Pitino told the media on Thursday. “He’s one of the best assistants I’ve ever had because he has everything. He’s not only a great scout, great teacher, great person, has an outstanding mind, tremendous recruiter and great communicator with the players and has a great sense of humor. He’s got the total package. We really miss him here and his personality. UNCW is very lucky to have him.”

The Louisville program had an unbelievable three years stretch during Keatts’ time as an assistant. Keatts had a bigger role in Louisville’s recent success than most people know.

When Kevin Keatts was hired to replace Steve Masiello in 2011, some considered it as a surprising hire. Keatts’ only division one coaching experience came when he was an assistant at Marshall from 2001-2003. He was the head coach at Hargrave Military Academy from 2003-2011 where he helped build one of the top post-graduate basketball programs in the country.

If you consider the Keatts hire as a gamble, I’d say it certainly paid off. Not only did Keatts play a big role in helping scout and prepare for opponents, his previous ties to Hargrave Military Academy helped Pitino land two of the most important players in the past five years.

When Jim Larranaga left George Mason for Miami, Luke Hancock decided to transfer and finish his career elsewhere. Before landing at George Mason, Hancock spent a year of post-grad at Hargrave where he played for Kevin Keatts. It made perfect sense for Hancock to reunite with his former coach who had just been hired at Louisville.

Montrezl Harrell committed to Seth Greenberg at Virginia Tech early on in his recruiting process and signed a letter of intent as soon as he could. Unfortunately, Greenberg was fired at the end of the 2011-12 season which led to Harrell asking for a release from his letter of intent.

Coaches at the post-graduate level recruit similar to college coaches. Each year they look for players who may need a year of post-grad for academic reasons, or up and coming prospects who want to face elite competition before heading to the division one level.

Keatts recruited Montezl Harrell and was able to persuade him into enrolling at Hargrave, but he never had the chance to coach Harrell, due to landing the assistant job at Louisville. When Harrell was looking for a new school after Greenberg was fired at Virginia Tech, Keatts once again had success in persuading Harrell on where to take his talents to.

Not only did Keatts bring Harrell and Hancock to Louisville, but he also played a huge role in the recruitment of Louisville’s previous three recruiting classes. When Terry Rozier failed to qualify academically in 2012, Keatts was already at Louisville, but obviously still had a strong connection at Hargrave Military Academy, which is exactly where Rozier wound up for his post-grad season.

When we look back twenty years from now on the successful three year run from 2011-2014, Rick Pitino, Peyton Siva, Russ Smith, Goruig Dieng and Luke Hancock are probably the names you’ll first think of. That said, don’t underestimate the impact that Kevin Keatts had.

Gerod Holliman Wins Jim Thorpe Award Given To The Best Defensive Back In The Nation

Photo | ESPN

Photo | ESPN

It’s been a big evening for Louisville redshirt sophomore defensive back Gerod Holliman. The nation’s leader in interceptions is currently in Orlando, FL., for the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

Early on in the show it was revealed that Holliman was named a Walter Camp First Team All American. Holliman is the first UofL player to earn first team Walter Camp honors since defensive end Elvis Dumervil was a first-team selection in 2005.

Later on in the awards show Holliman was honored as the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award winner, which is given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

The Miami had an unforgettable season in Todd Grantham’s defense. In 12 regular season games, Holliman recorded 14 interceptions which tied former Washington defensive back Al Worley’s NCAA record set back in 1968.

Holliman is the first player in the history of the Louisville program to win the Jim Thorpe Award.

Current Louisville cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley won the award in 1991 at Florida State.