Officials confident Men's NCAA Tournament will return to Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Officials tell us the University of Louisville and other organizations worked together last week to help make the NCAA tournament in Louisville run smoothly.
It not only caught the attention of NCAA officials, but some coaches as well.
"The folks at Louisville treated us truly like guests," said UK Coach John Calipari.
Calipari was impressed with the YUM! Center's handling of the NCAA tournament.
"I've been in a ton of NCAA tournaments," Calipari said. "I would say without reservation, that may have been the best venue, the best setup, the best locker room areas to walk onto the court. Almost like the building was designed for an NCAA tournament."
That's because it was. Jim Host, the former chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority, helped get the arena built and says they kept the tournaments in mind when building the YUM! Center.
He was impressed with how smoothly things went last week.
"That's why the NCAA committee member who was there representing the NCAA said it was the most perfect NCAA event he's ever been to," Host said.
Now, the question is, will the Yum Center host the tournament again?
"I would say that all the arrows are pointing in the right direction in regards to the NCAA," said Karl Schmitt, the Executive Director of the Louisville Sports Commission. "It was a great experience for the people on the court, and for the fans in the arena."
Louisville is expected to host the NCAA volleyball championship in December, as well as other upcoming events. Officials are hoping it helps lead to more NCAA tournament games.
"The NCAA looks at that as a total package, and the more we can do for all NCAA championships, the more events will come back to Louisville," Schmitt said.
Meanwhile, Host says the earliest the men's tournament could return could be 2015.
He says as a member of the Division 1 Men's Basketball Committee, he will soon pitch the idea to make the YUM! Center one of the rotational sites.
"And hopefully after we've done one and had such good success the committee will be inclined to award us a semi-permanent site from now on," Host said.
He says he's convinced the tournament will be back.
Meanwhile, the Louisville Sports Commission estimates the tournament brought at least $3 million into our local economy.
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