L to R – Justin Peterson – UofL Intramurals – Asst. Director; John Hower – UofL student; Justin Harville – Special Olympics
L to R – Justin Peterson – UofL Intramurals – Asst. Director; John Hower – UofL student; Justin Harville – Special Olympics Kentucky

University of Louisville intramural teams sported some special athletes this past school year – athletes from Special Olympics Kentucky. UofL is the first school in Kentucky to host Unified Basketball which features teams made up of both UofL students and athletes with intellectual disabilities. UofL’s assistant director of intramurals, Justin Peterson, thought it would be a good way to expand the athletic experience for students while breaking down barriers with people with disabilities.

“It brings a new level of confidence to our athletes” said Justin Harville, director of program services at Special Olympics Kentucky. “It brings opportunity for a new community to be formed for them to feel part of the UofL campus.”

The top two teams in the UofL intramural league combined to form a nine-person team of Special Olympians and UofL students, which participated in the national intramural basketball championships at The Ohio State University. UofL’s team finished second out of eight squads, beaten by a team from Toronto in the championship game.

“A lot of them (Special Olympians) are better players than I will ever be,” said John Hower, a UofL senior and member of UofL’s Unified team. “It’s also allowed me to make some new friends on campus … I really wish we had this program earlier in my college career.”

Listen here to hear the entire podcast interview about the UofL/Special Olympics collaboration.    

Mark Hebert
Following a 28-year career as a radio and television reporter, Mark Hebert joined the University of Louisville as the Director of Media Relations in 2009, serving as the main spokesperson. In 2015, Mark was named Director of Programming and Production. He’s now producing and hosting a radio show about “all things UofL”, overseeing the university’s video and TV productions and promoting UofL’s research operation. Mark is best known for his 22 years as the political and investigative reporter for WHAS-TV in Louisville where he won numerous awards for breaking stories, exposing corruption and objectively covering Kentucky politics. In 2014, Mark was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.