Skip to main content

Josh Heird, Louisville 'Committed' to Assisting Baseball Program

After head coach Dan McDonnell questioned UofL's commitment to baseball, it appears their athletic director is making efforts to remedy his concerns.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A week removed from Dan McDonnell questioning the UofL athletic department's commitment to his program, it appears that efforts are being made to help remedy his concerns.

In the week since the head baseball coach of the Cardinals made his now viral comments, Louisville athletic director Josh Heird says he has "touched base" with McDonnell "on a number of topics," and that he is indeed "committed" to helping improve and advance the baseball program and its facilities.

“Dan and I have touched base on a number of topics this week. He’s an incredible coach who’s built an incredible program," he told Louisville Report via text message. "We’re going to work hard and we’re committed to making sure he has what he needs to compete for championships.”

Heird and McDonnell both recently attended Tuesday's Braves-Dodgers game in Atlanta. There, former Cardinals right-handed pitcher Bobby Miller made his Major League debut for Los Angeles, with catcher and fellow former Card Will Smith serving as his battery mate. The Dodgers defeated the Braves, 8-1.

"It was awesome to see Bobby and Will have such a great night," Heird told Louisville Report.

Following the Cardinals' season-ending loss to Florida State last Saturday, McDonnell was asked if he expected to be back in the dugout for Louisville for the 2024 season. While he said he "always expected to be here," he didn't rule out possibly leaving for another school.

"I always expect to be here, but I'm not going to shy away. ... I'm not going to get into it now, but I've been very vocal and challenging over the last 12 months," McDonnell said. "Just look at the writing on the wall. Look at where this program has been, and you walk around. You walk through the dugouts, you walk under the stadium, you see what differently have we done since 2000-Whatever.

"We want to be here. We love it here. But again, I want to work for people and be with people - and in a group - that want to win as well. Don't tell me you want to win, show me you want to win. That's all I ask for."

Related: Watch: Louisville HC Dan McDonnell Talks End of 2023 Season

His comments appeared to be a shot at the Louisville administration and their efforts towards improving the baseball program's facilities, which he perceived as lagging behind.

Louisville recently made improvements to the front entrance of Jim Patterson Stadium, but that pales in comparison to renovations that many places in the ACC - namely the stadiums for Boston College, Virginia Tech and Clemson - have undergone over the past five years.

Efforts to build a new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility at Louisville, which was first announced at the 2020 iteration of the program's annual Lead-off Dinner, have also stalled. UofL secured a $3 million donation towards building the facility in 2021, but ground has yet to be broken.

Heird did not immediately respond to Louisville Report when asked a follow up question regarding a timeline for the indoor practice facility.

"I've been recruiting these kids, they've been committed since their eighth, ninth, 10th grade year," McDonnell said last Saturday. "Well, they showed up on campus, they haven't seen a whole lot different. They said it was gonna be different, we promised them it would be different, but it's not different.

"As my phrase was at the leadoff banquet, are you interested or are you committed? I want to be at a place that's committed, when it's all said and done. Because the kids we recruited to be at a place that's committed. Ultimately, we're trying to get to Omaha and win a national championship. It ain't gonna happen unless we make a full commitment."

McDonnell's comments fueled speculation that, if promises and pledges to improving facilities remained unfulfilled, that he could move on from the Cardinals. D1Baseball has already listed him as a candidate to watch for the vacant positions at both Alabama and Georgia.

Despite a 2023 campaign that saw that Cardinals go 31-24 and miss out on the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, McDonnell has been one of the most successful coaches in college baseball during his 17 years as the skipper of the Cardinals. He sports an overall record of 710-306-1 and .699 win percentage since his hiring in 2007, has five appearances in the College World Series, and is a two-time National Coach of the Year.

(Photo of Josh Heird: Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports)

You can follow Louisville Report for future coverage by liking us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

Facebook - @LouisvilleReport
Twitter - @UofLReport
Instagram - @louisville_report

You can also follow Deputy Editor Matthew McGavic at @Matt_McGavic on Twitter