Former University of Louisville football coach Steve Kragthorpe said goodbye to the the media, fans, and the university for the last time at a press conference this afternoon. Kragthorpe was very appreciative of his time in Louisville and the support that his loyal fans have given him over the past three years.
“I appreciate the opportunity that Dr. (James) Ramsey and Tom Jurich gave me three years ago,” Kragthorpe said. He is not bitter about being fired and understands why Jurich came to his decision. “You have to win football games in order to stay someplace.” He would go on to say, “I just want people to understand I don’t leave here bitter, I leave here better. I’ll always be a Louisville fan.”
This shows tremendous class on Kragthorpe’s part. He seemed to sincerely enjoy his time at the University of Louisville, despite the lack of support from the fan base. He knows that there is no one else to blame but himself and he takes full responsibility. You have to respect that.
Kragthorpe said that he lobbied to keep his job in the Saturday morning meeting with Jurich. He believed all along that Louisville was close to getting back to where they were and he wanted to be the one to right the ship. In the end, the ship had sunk too far.
He said he has only one regret which is not winning more games. “I’m sorry that I didn’t win more football games. Ultimately that’s how you’re judged.”
Kragthorpe knew fan support was low and many people wanted his resignation. He said he did not resign for two reasons. The first reason he gave was “I don’t quit anything.” His second reason was concern for his assistant coaches.
Had he resigned, then the contracts and benefits of his assistant coaches would have been terminated sooner. Kragthorpe said, “I’m willing to be fired to help them in terms of the length of time they had on their contracts.”
Once again, you have to respect this man. It would have been easy for him to resign and get away from all the scrutiny, but he stuck with it. He wasn’t thinking about just himself, but of his coaches. This is why this guy is very respected around college football and will get coaching opportunities in the future.
So what’s next for Coach Krags?
He said he will move back to Tulsa, Oklahoma shortly after watching his son play in the high school state championship game. Kragthorpe’s son, Brad, is the starting quarterback for the Trinity Shamrocks. He then plans on moving back to Tulsa to be closer to his wife’s family, because she has a medical issue which needs attention. There is also a well known doctor in Oklahoma City that will help treat her.
Kragthorpe also mentioned that he has received three job offers, including an offensive coordinator position at a BCS Conference school. He is unsure if he will take any of the offers, saying he might take a year to just be a dad.
He said he wants to watch his kids play football and might take some time off to think about what he wants to do. Louisville still owes him the remainder of his contract which has two years left, worth $2.4 million.
He wanted to let everyone know that he holds no grudges. “You always remember the good times. I think everybody was fair to me.”
A Few Thoughts
Despite the win/loss record and how far this program has fallen, everyone has to respect coach Kragthorpe as a man. In the beginning he looked like the right man for the job. He was coming off a Conference USA Championship and had just turned Tulsa’s program around. He was one of hottest coaches on the rise and deserved a shot at a major school in a BCS conference.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. I believe coach Krags didn’t know what he was getting into. The competition level was much higher and I think he was over matched. He tried his ass off, but it didn’t translate into wins.
Kragthorpe has been a class act since he arrived in The Ville. He came in and cleaned up some messes that certain players presented. He ran a clean program and did things the right way. He made sure his kids were first-class citizens in society and performed well in the classroom. He was always respectful to the fans and media, even when they criticized him and his family.
Let’s be honest, this man has been put through hell over the past three years. But he stood up to the challenge, didn’t quit, and respected everybody. You can’t help but respect him right back.
Personally I hope that Kragthorpe finds another major coaching opportunity down the road and does well. He has proven that he can coach in the right situation. Unfortunately, Louisville was not a good fit.
The Pinkie wishes coach Kragthorpe and his family the best luck. Hopefully his wife can get her situation taken care of and everything will be ok.
Louisville fans need to stop criticizing this man now that he is gone. We all knew that change was necessary and it has come. Now is the time to reflect on the good that coach Kragthorpe has done for the university and the community. We have been too caught up in the negatives of Coach K to realize the positives, and there are several positives.
So thank you coach Kragthorpe for being an outstanding representative of the community, university, and the football program.
We wish you nothing but the best.