Commemorative Pitino Bottles to Aid UofL Academic Center

By: Kenny Klein, U of L Media Relations
By: Kenny Klein, U of L Media Relations

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Commemorative bottles of a premium brand featuring University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino will go on sale late this week to aid in fundraising efforts for a new academic center on the Cardinals’ campus.

Special commemorative bottles of Maker’s Mark®, a handmade bourbon produced in Loretto, Ky., feature a unique bottle design depicting Pitino’s image, his upcoming induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and UofL’s 2013 men’s basketball national championship.

Proceeds from the sales of the 12,600 bottles, which will be on retail store shelves on Friday, June 7, will go toward the UofL Academic Center of Excellence, an $8 million, state-of-the-art facility that will be built on the Cardinals’ campus.

“We want to congratulate Coach Pitino on his selection to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and UofL for winning the national championship all in the same weekend,” said Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels. “And we want to thank Coach Pitino, as well, for his partnership on this year’s commemorative bottle, which will create both awareness and dollars for the Academic Center of Excellence.”

“The Academic Center of Excellence addresses a critical need for our department and what we need for our student-athletes to be successful academically,” said Vice-President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. “We sincerely appreciate the support of Maker’s Mark and specifically Rob Samuels for this project.”

The Academic Center of Excellence will be located beneath the Norton Terrace at the South end of the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The center will house the academic operations for the entire athletic department and all student-athletes and academic staff will be located in one building. The center will feature tutorial areas, laboratories, office areas and classroom space. Fundraising is in the early stages for the facility.

Maker’s Mark began producing UofL commemorative bottles last year to support the center, part of a three-year commitment of $500,000 by Maker’s Mark. Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong was featured on 8,400 bottles that were sold last July.

Pitino and Samuels will autograph bottles at a special ticketed event later this month. Tickets for the autograph signing which will go on sale for $1 each online at (or follow the links through beginning at 10 a.m. on June 10. Each ticket allows the bearer to have one bottle signed. Bottles must be purchased at a retail outlet prior to the signing; there will be no bottles for sale at the signing. Only the 2013 commemorative bottles will be signed.

The bottle-signing will be on Thursday, June 13, at 5 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center. Previously purchased tickets will be available to be picked up at the KFC Yum! Center main front lobby beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets will not be sold at the door. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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