Johnny Unitas statue finds new home ahead of opener

When fans fill Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Saturday night, the original "Johnny Football" will have a new place to call home.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WHAS11) -- When fans fill Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Saturday night the original Johnny Football will have a new place to call home.
We're talking the statue of Johnny Unitas that has been moved because of renovations.
"When anybody talks about the university of Louisville they talk about Johnny Unitas," said athletic director Tom Jurich.

He was the face of the Louisville football program for decades, but for the last 19 years the Golden Arm stood alone.

"The feedback we received from the donors and fans was simple, we didn't have access to him,” said Mark Jurich.  “We want to be able to take pictures and we want to be able to interact with it.  Where it was situated unfortunately it didn't make sense."

With work underway in the north end zone Johnny U is on the move.

"The only parameters that I wanted to live by was that I wanted him inside our gates is he couldn't be vandalized, not by our fans of course, but I want to make sure he could be touched by our fan base,” said Tom Jurich.

After months of debate, the one-thousand-pound statue honoring the hall of fame quarterback has finally touched down in the north end zone pavilion.

"Being up here with the other 40,000 fans that supposedly sit up here during the game it will be a great place for him to keep company,” said Tom Jurich.

The work on the monument is far from over.

"This is a temporary base,” said Mark Jurich.  “This is something that is not a rush decision.  We're going to have another beautiful granite base that goes all the way around it that’s currently in production."

A production that will be unveiled to fans nationwide Saturday night.

"To be alone on ABC prime time that's a very special occasion and we're excited about it,” said Tom Jurich.

 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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