The Dirt Bowl, which for nearly four decades helped produce some of the most promising college and professional basketball players in the country, will return to Louisville’s Shawnee Park this summer, Mayor Greg Fischer announced today. “We hope to recapture some of that former glory and grow this classic competition into a premier athletic event,” Fischer said.
Fischer — along with community leader Neal Robertson and Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton (seen wearing her Dirt Bowl 2009 T-shirt) — has been working for months to resurrect the tournament, which ended several years ago due to a variety of factors.
“It was a significant loss for Louisville and a specific loss for Western Louisville,” Fischer said. “Generations of families came here to sit on bleachers, to share good times and to watch some serious hoops.”
Local and national greats who’ve played in past Dirt Bowls include Clem Haskins and Jim McDaniels, Dan Issel, Wes Unseld, Darryl Griffith and Derek Anderson.
The 42nd Annual Dirt Bowl will be June 30 and July 1, 7, 8, 14, 15 and August 4, 5, 11 and 12, the date of the championship game.
Tournament application fee is $250 and women’s and children’s fees are $50. To join the tournament, contact Robertson at 664-0780.
The Dirt Bowl was created by Ben Watkins as a way to bring basketball and family-style picnics together for the good of the neighborhood and for the spirit of competition.
The city’s parks department, now called Metro Parks, helped host the first tournament in 1969 and for many years it was considered the essence of summer league basketball.
The new Dirt Bowl won’t just be a basketball tournament – it also will be a community event and celebration. A job fair will be held which will include U.S Army recruiters and others.