Bellarmine Knights – A Few Days Later

Photo: Jc Cissell

First of all, if you missed it, here is the celebration from Knights Hall held on Tuesday evening, March 29, 2011. If you didn’t hear the throb of BTO’s “Takin’ Care of Business” or “I Got a Feeling (Tonight I Gonna Be a Good Night”) from Black Eyed Peas echoing from the campus speakers at dusk, you had to be a couple of zip codes away.

A few steps up the concrete ramp and the generator-like hum was revealed as I looked out upon wall to wall bleachers filled with fans.

A platform with the NCAA trophy in the center, surrounded by folding chairs was awash in light while waiting for the team, their coach, B.U. and Louisville luminaries.

Impassioned remarks from Athletics Director Scott Wiegandt, Mayor Greg Fischer and the Knights themselves were humble as they were inspiring. It was an account from President Joseph McGowan, who donned a champs ball cap and finally let go of the game ball for the event, that said it all.

He spoke of the conversation he had with Davenport—wishing that his two sons, who are older now, could have played for him. Davenport’s response was that is the highest compliment a coach could receive.

“He’s one of the best persons I’ve ever met, “ McGowan continued, “One of the best coaches, the best teachers, husbands, fathers…a good friend. We are blessed to have him as a member of our community.”

He also related the story of former board member, Michael Crutcher, now living in Seattle, said to McGowan:

“I don’t know how you’re going take this but I think you’ve done a lot over the years to help Bellmarmine grow and to improve and we have a lot to be thankful for…”

“And I.thought, okay, what’s happening,…” McGowan wondered parenthetically, then Crutcher said, “ But when it’s all said and done, you’re going to be remembered as the guy who hired Scotty Davenport.”

The crowd loved it. After the deafening applause, and there were many, McGowan grinned, “If that’s the case, Scotty, I’ll take it!”

I contacted Coach Davenport the next day, leaving a voice mail on his department phone on campus—figuring that ESPN would boot me to the back of the room and rightly so.

When he got back with me within an hour, I was able to congratulate him once again and thank him for the boost in city spirit. Receptive and warm as if I were the first person that had told him that, the man they call “Scotty” was just the kind of hero I was hoping for.

The full court press? According to Davenport, the entire season was honored by both local and national media coverage–with shouts going out to WAVE 3 News and the Courier-Journal.
I had to ask him, in that tradition of SuperBowll MVPs, where did they go that night after the big celebration? And I knew it wasn’t Disneyland.

“Mulligan’s!” he boasted. Just down the street from Bellarmine, the former location of Kaelin’s was host to the jubilant core of the athletics department. My guess is the student body poured themselves in to a stein at Shenannigan’s.

“We could’ve talked all night long,” he stated regarding the assemblage on the stage that night, “But there were so many people to thank, and even more than that, we would’ve been there all night!”

Coach was on the ready with his response to a few emailed questions:

What would the coach consider for a bumper sticker? His two off-the-cuff thoughts are:

Bellarmine Basketball = “TRUST”
Bellarmine Basketball “None of us are as good as ALL of us!”

As for recruiting locally and winning nationally, how will that impact B.U. in the next year?

“The impact on recruiting will be felt the same as the effect on Bellarmine Athletics–“Winning sells.”

What will be the first non-basketball task since winning?

“Actually two–yard work and picking the winner of The Kentucky Derby!”