More than 450 fans clad in red and black showed up to greet the Caravan, which also made a stop later in the day at the Newport Aquarium in Northern Kentucky.
“I didn’t know there were this many fans in Frankfort,” senior basketball point guard Peyton Siva said to the media assembled.
Football assistant coach Kenny Carter, soccer coach Ken Lolla, softball coach Sandy Pearsall, track coach Ron Mann and assistant athletic director Mark Jurich were among those who greeted the fans.
Siva was joined on the trip by junior center Gorgui Dieng.
”The fans really came out to show their support and their love,” said Siva, who had one fan ask if her daughter could kiss his cheek and take a picture of it.
“That was a first,” said Siva, who was sporting the Final Four ring the Cardinals’ earned last season.
Carter, who coaches running backs at U of L, said from the first time he was on a Caravan it has “grown a great deal, but its no surprise because we have great fans.”
“It’s a great deal for us to be able to give back to the fans and let them feel like they can connect to us,” Carter said. “The more that you are at Louisville, the more you understand the dynamics of it all, so the crowd is really not a surprise.”
Lolla, who took the U of L soccer to the national title game two years ago and a No. 1 ranking last season, said he was “extremely excited” about the large turnout.
“I was most amazed the first year we did this and how many people would come out,” Lolla said. “But now there is a little bit more of an expectation. But I am no less appreciative of it. People coming out at lunchtime to support us, it’s amazing.
“I think it’s so important that we continue to do these, one for thanking the people for being so loyal and second to renew that and continue to fill them with the latest.”
The Caravan continues on Wednesday with a stop from 6:30-8 p.m. ET in Bowling Green at the National Corvette Museum. The coaches and players appearing will change a bit with Chane Behanan and Siva expected to be at that site.
On Thursday, the Caravan rolls into Owensboro at River Park Center from 12:30-2 p.m. ET and Captain's Quarters from 5:30-7. Junior guard Russ Smith is expected to be the basketball player at the Captain’s Quarters site.