This weekend’s clash against Florida State is set to be one of the biggest college football games in Louisville history and the Cardinals are taking full advantage of all the attention that comes with a top 10 matchup to honor one of their city’s native sons.
The school announced on Thursday that the university would be honoring the legacy of Muhammad Ali with several presentations set to be unveiled over the course of Saturday’s game.
“The Ali Family has been tremendous supporters of our program,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “Muhammad Ali’s presence and generosity to our department will never be forgotten and the support Lonnie and her family have given in all aspects have meant a lot to me during the course of my career at the University of Louisville. They are treasured in our community and we wanted to properly thank them for everything they’ve meant to the city and the university.”
The legendary boxer passed away in early June but was well known for his support of the hometown Cardinals over the years. Both Ali’s wife Lonnie and son Asaad are scheduled to attend Saturday’s game against the Seminoles and will be heavily involved in the day’s festivities.
According to the school, a 30-foot painting of the boxer’s signature butterfly icon with the words ‘Ali’ will sit in the northwest corner of the end zone at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The Cardinals will also wear a customized helmet sticker honoring Ali for the matchup and the school’s student section will wear more than 3,000 custom made Ali t-shirts.
Additionally, Asaad Ali will present both teams with a commemorative coin prior to kickoff and Lonnie Ali will be honored on the field during the first quarter for her and her husband’s work in various public service and humanitarian initiatives. Several highlights and video tributes will also be shown in the stadium throughout the game.
Kudos to Louisville for rolling out the red carpet to Ali’s family and honoring ‘The Champ’ in such a thoughtful way. With the No. 2 team in the country rolling into town, it will be interesting to see if Lamar Jackson and company are able to sting like a bee and pull off the upset as a result.