The voice of USF Athletics routinely puts down his radio headset and picks up the pen to share his perspective on the history of USF Athletics.
Louk has been broadcasting games for 29 years and is the resident historian in the Athletics Department hallways.
Voice of the USF Bulls
The 2011-12 season was filled with achievements for USF teams, and filled with opportunities to compete for a national championship. You may not know, however, that a national championship was once decided on the campus of the University of South Florida, and it wasn't that long ago.
It took place at the (then) USF soccer and track and field Stadium. In recent months that facility, now by far the oldest in the athletic district, has undergone significant renovations to become an outstanding track and field venue while the sparkling new Corbett Stadium has become the home to USF Soccer. But as recently as two years ago, the track and field facility was still doing double duty.
Bulls football fans may best know the stadium for another event. On September 6, 1996, exactly one year before the inaugural game, it was the home to USF football's first public scrimmage.
But six years before that, four teams assembled in that stadium to determine a national champion.
Over the years, USF has been very aggressive in securing host institution status for major events. The NCAA Softball Super Regional is just a recent example. The Bulls have acted as host for NCAA Basketball Regional play, and have even hosted a men's Final Four (1999-Tropicana Field) and a women's Final Four (2008-Tampa Bay Times Forum). Conference championships on USF soil are becoming more and more commonplace as the Bulls take full advantage of the new athletic district.
But national championships? On the USF campus? Those are a little more difficult to find.
One took place on December 1 and 2, 1990. USF hosted the NCAA Men's Soccer Championships, right here at our track and field stadium.
The Final Four in men's soccer that year had some familiar names. Perennial contender UCLA was there as well as Big East representative Rutgers. North Carolina State and Evansville rounded out the field of teams that came to Tampa to seek a national championship.
For USF Athletics, it became one of the earliest opportunities to showcase the program's facilities on national television.
Tom Harvey, now a Senior Manager of Athletics Fundraising at Bucknell University, was a student worker at USF Athletics at the time, and was assigned to the event.
"I remember there was a lot of work to get the facility ready, and we were so excited to show USF off to a national audience." Harvey, who worked on John Campbell's operations staff, was well aware of his unique opportunity. "I would run from class, get changed, and then sit in logistics meetings with CBS television. I remember thinking how great it was to be part of something so big and special as a student."
As for the matches, UCLA eventually won it all with a simple strategy; don't allow any goals. The Bruins were un-scored upon all weekend and won both games on penalty kicks.
The first win was over North Carolina State, as they survived being a man down for the final 28 minutes of regulation to ultimately win on penalty kicks.
The championship game, featuring UCLA and Rutgers, was quite a classic. The Bruins lineup, featuring five World Cup players including Cobi Jones and Joe-Max Moore, outlasted Rutgers through a scoreless regulation and four overtime periods. Penalty kicks decided it, and UCLA went on to their second championship in five years.
For those of us who worked the event for USF, it was at the time a rare glimpse into the upper levels of NCAA postseason play. Thankfully, it's a view we get to see more often now, with USF as participants more often than not.
So if you have a cause to visit the USF track and field stadium in the future, don't forget its soccer history. The USF men's and women's soccer teams both achieved NCAA Tournament berths while playing there.
And, one cold December weekend not that long ago, a national championship was won on that field as well.
The voice of the Bulls, Jim Louk, offers his perspective of USF Athletics, both past and present.
For 29 years, Jim Louk has been the voice of USF Athletics.
Louk came to USF in 1983 as the radio play-by-play announcer for the USF men's basketball team and served as the lead voice until the conclusion of the 1996-97 season. He then made the transition to football in USF's inaugural 1997 campaign, and still serves as the team's play-by-play announcer today. Louk will come into the 2012 football season having broadcast every Bulls football game in history - a span of 177 games.
He has handled USF TV play by play broadcasts on SportsChannel, Fox Sports Florida, and Brighthouse Sports Network. His career includes over 1,500 play by play broadcasts of USF events, including football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's and women's soccer and volleyball.
This series of articles for GoUSFBulls.com began in 2010.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Louk is a 1979 graduate of the University of Bridgeport where he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism. Louk and his wife Barbara reside in Lutz. Their son Ross is a sophomore in college.