LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Of all the great things former athletic director Tom Jurich did at the University of Louisville, I was never a fan of some of the logo designs and font changes in the athletic department that began around 2000.
Once upon a time, Louisville had different logos for each sport, with its Cardinal logo participating, kicking a soccer ball, hitting a baseball or, most memorably, dunking a basketball. It made sense, I suppose, to do away with those in the name of consistency. But losing the dunking Cardinal was always a matter of contention.
U of L, after all, rose to prominence under the "Doctors of Dunk" nickname.
The return of the dunking Cardinal logo is something I began pushing for from the time I got to start expressing my opinions in the sports column at The Courier-Journal.
Like most tings, the dunking Cardinal reared its head as it came back into fashion gradually over the past five or six years.
Now, it is returning to the scene in prominence. After using it to refinish and decorate the practice court in its Planet Fitness Kueber Center facility, U of L now is bringing the dunking Cardinal front and center in its new design for Denny Crum Court in the KFC Yum! Center.
Let's just say that Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra, the son of Louisville All-American Charlie Tyra, gets it.
"No other Louisville logo elicits more affinity across all generations of our fan base than our Dunking Cardinal," said Tyra. "After a lot of thought and consideration, we determined that showcasing that was something that would really resonate with our fan base. We are excited about both the men's and women's upcoming seasons and can't wait for our fans to see their new court."
It's been no secret that the change is coming. Still, to see the design Tweeted out by the basketball program on Thursday had to bring a smile to the faces of many Cardinal fans who have wanted to see that legacy more front and center.
The logo has been modernized a bit, according to a release from U of L. For starters, he's wearing adidas.
In a YouTube video for an accompanying newspaper column, Eric Crawford talks about uniform and school logo styles in 2011.
"Great care was taken to slightly update the Dunking Cardinal mark for clear brand recognition on broadcast television, while retaining the vintage appeal," according to the school release. "Fans may notice that the facial feathers, eyes and beak were refined to more closely align with Louisville's primary brand mark, the Bird Head. Additionally, this version of the Dunking Cardinal features adidas basketball shoes."
Not only will the midcourt logo be revamped, but the lettering in the end zone is the same lettering that fans will remember from the scorer's table in Freedom Hall.
Credit Louisville coach Chris Mack for embracing the school's legacy, and Tyra for responding to the program's fans, as he did recently in embarking on a project to restore the color to seats in Cardinal Stadium.
It's a small, seemingly insignificant thing, I know.
But at the same time, it isn't. Just because a decision or change is a slam dunk doesn't always mean it gets made. This time it did. At long last.
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