LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville fans can own a piece of the NCAA championship court from the Georgia Dome. The pieces went on sale today as part of a joint effort with Northwestern Mutual Foundation to raise money for charity.

Proceeds from the sale of the court will go to help research being conducted by Kenneth Lucas, M.D., chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Kosair Children's Hospital and division chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation for the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics.

From a U of L release:

Fans can choose from three different sizes of souvenir floor pieces, with 1,000 of them featuring head coach Rick Pitino's autograph. Pricing starts at $99.99.

"It is exciting to get this effort underway to raise funds for the fight against pediatric cancer," said President of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation John Kordsmeier. "We're proud to support the communities that we serve, and donating the floor in order to raise money for cancer research is a win for everyone involved."

The company mounted a similar effort with the 2012 NCAA Championship floor, raising more than $200,000 to help the fight against pediatric cancer.  This year, the company also donated the center court logo portion of the floor to the University of Louisville to hang in its basketball arena, the KFC Yum! Center.

"As exciting as it was for us to win the national championship this year, it's also exciting to be part of this effort to raise money for cancer research," said Pitino. "It's all about giving back to the community, and Northwestern Mutual is providing a great example of how to be a good corporate citizen."


There's little time for Pitino to decompress after his Hall of Fame weekend. The team will practice today, then the staff will hit the road after that session.

Pitino said he'll stay in Louisville to conduct some individual instruction with his players, then hit the road himself on Tuesday.

"We're ready to go to work now," he said.

He said the challenge for his current team is to put aside its success and keep moving.

"We're deep, especially in the backcourt, we're not deep at the five-spot," Pitino said. "That's one thing we've got to overcome. . . . To continue what we're doing, to continue that level of excellence, takes a lot of work, a lot of humility and a lot of focus. If we think we've arrived, we'll get our butt kicked. If we're still hungry, we'll be right back where we've been, and that's our goal.


Pitino will be promoting his book, "The One-Day Contract," and talking about other issues at a Kentucky Author Forum event at the Kentucky Center for the Arts on Oct. 9. He'll be interviewed by New York Times Columnist Joe Nocera, and a one-hour question and answer session will follow.

Tickets for the event are $20, or $110 for the entire session, which includes a 4:15 Carmichael's book sale (in which Pitino will sign only books purchased at the event), 5 p.m. wine and cheese in the Kentucky Center lobby, 6 p.m. interview in Bomhard Theater, 7 p.m. audience Q&A, 8:15 p.m. dinner in honor of the author and interviewer on the Humana Building's 25th floor.

The interview also will be taped by KET. The $110 ticket includes a $50 deductible amount for charity, with proceeds going to the nonprofit Kentucky Author Forum.

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