The University of Louisville football team has begun its fourteenth season at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. In that time the team has had its share of ups and downs but rather than focusing on the team itself the stadium’s story actually goes back ten years prior to it’s opening in 1998.
In 1988 the now iconic Howard Schnellenberger was at the helm of University of Louisville football, and it has been noted the strong figure that Schnellenberger was behind getting a technologically advanced stadium in town. In addition the team was a part of no formal conference, instead acting as an “independent” college football team. Schnellenberger’s contribution has been noted at Papa John’s with the Howard Schnellenberger complex players pass prior to games.
A fitting conference in regards to the stadium, which despite building up slow momentum was unable to receive any public funding, in response a grass roots effort began while small private investors donated the initial financial aid the stadium would need.
And, it was with a slow and steady mantra the stadium slowly began to take form, finally finding naming commission from local business, Papa John’s.
Since then, the stadium has hosted the Kentucky State Championship Football Game until 2009, when the game moved to Bowling Green, and of course as we get into high school football season it annually welcomes Trinity and St. X for their long held rivalry.
In addition the stadium has seen its share of solo events including soccer matches, concerts, speech engagements and a number of other attractions.
What makes the stadium really special though is it’s nod to the history that built so much of the city’s athletic output, being named after the original Cardinal Stadium, and of course the Johnny Unitas statue. A belief in future endeavors but an understanding of the past is really why makes the stadium special.
Image courtesy of UofL Sports