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    Photos by Chris Witzke

    “I’ll be a Louisville fan until I die,” Joe Houchin says. And even after that too. “I already have my plot at the cemetery, and it says, ‘Go Cards!’”

    Houchin, who’s in his late 50s, has been an avid U of L fan since he watched the basketball team win the 1980 national championship while lying on the living room floor in his house on Clarks Lane. After the Cards beat UCLA for that title, Houchin went to campus to cheer and revel. 

    Now, he watches most U of L games in the back room of Amvets Post #9 on South Shelby Street. He started his Cards Club about 10 years ago, and now 50 or so members gather to watch, eat and cheer. Houchin is one of the loudest, screaming at the 80-inch flat screen, calling out, “C-A-R-D-S! It’s all about the ’Ville!” The response: “BAY-BEE!” Once a year, the Cards Club rents a chartered bus, with two seats devoted to coolers of beer, and travels to an away game: a rain-soaked football game in Mississippi, a five-overtime basketball game at Notre Dame. During a U of L-UK basketball game on New Year’s Eve in 2011, Houchin got married in the Amvets Post during halftime, the same place he met his bride 20 years prior. “I’m in love with U of L sports,” he says. “I’ll watch volleyball if it’s on TV.”

    When I ask him about the recent basketball recruiting scandal and ongoing investigation that resulted in coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich losing their jobs, Houchin says, “It was time for Rick to go.” He says he likes interim coach David Padgett. “The players aren’t under all that stress with Pitino,” he says. “I think Padgett will pull (the team) together and have a good season.” 

    And if the 2013 basketball national championship is ultimately rescinded because of that other scandal? “We can just put up a sign that says, ‘We beat Michigan,’” Houchin says.

    This originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Jennifer Kiefer's picture

    About Jennifer Kiefer

    Germantown transplant. Louisville native.

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