The University of Louisville women’s volleyball team is undefeated at home in Kentucky this season. Doesn’t hurt that members of the men’s swim team attend home games, each wearing 26 items of clothing — removing one every time the Lady Cardinals score. Host Scott Simon talks with head coach Anne Kordes about the new cheerleaders.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
The University of Louisville women’s volleyball team was great this past regular season: 23-and-7. They were undefeated at home. A possible good luck charm, at certain home games the Louisville men’s swim team are in the stands, each athlete wearing 26 items of clothing. Every time the Lady Cardinals score a point, the swimmers strip off a piece of attire. It takes 25 points to win a volleyball game so victory reveals young male swimmers in nothing but Speedos.
Anne Kordes is the head coach of the Louisville women’s volleyball team. Thanks so much for being with us, coach.
ANNE KORDES: Thanks for having me on your show.
SIMON: And so what’s the idea behind this? Who started it?
KORDES: We had the guys, the team approach us and say hey, we’re going to come and we’re going to get everybody rowdy, and so two years ago, you know, they showed up at one of our biggest matches and I tell you, all eyes were on them. And they were just getting people fired up, and I think people in the crowd were, like, are they going to keep taking clothes off, you know.
And I’ll be honest with you. Swimmers, you know, male and female, they both – they have phenomenal – they’re in great shape, so if there is any group of people that could – that you wouldn’t mind taking their clothes off, it’s probably a swim team. But we had a huge come-from-behind win and that’s all – the swimmers, that’s all anyone could talk about. It was great.
SIMON: Now, and of course we’ll stipulate, these are athletes on the swim team who perform in their Speedos, so they’re used to being seen that way, yeah.
KORDES: Sure. Exactly. We’re not asking them to do anything that they’re not comfortable in or what have you. But I can be honest. I mean, I’ve called the coach. I know we can’t have them at every home game, but I’ve said, hey, there’s a couple big ones coming up. Is there any way you think, you know, your guys could make it? So they’ve been great.
And we’ve actually returned the favor. We don’t really know how to do the clothes part. I mean, we dress up kind of silly and get down to sports bras and Spandex, but we can’t figure out how to make it sort of go with the heat. We’re working on it.
SIMON: Do you have any concern that, you know, this is going to set off a – some kind of competition?
KORDES: Between other schools?
SIMON: Between other schools or inevitably there’s the one saying, ha, Speedos? We’re going to wear Brazilian swim shorts.
KORDES: Oh, I gotcha, I gotcha. You know, the funny part is, I’ll be honest with you. The last time that they were there, little boys came by and they started taking their clothes off, so that was one of the – I thought, oh my God, I hope these parents are OK with these little boys, you know, they’re taking their shirts off, you know, they’re getting down to their boxer shorts and it was pretty funny. It was cute.
SIMON: Anne Kordes is head coach of the Louisville women’s volleyball team. She’s on the road for the NCAA tournament. Good luck to you, coach.
KORDES: Oh, thank you so much.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: Oh, but last night the lady cardinals lost to Marquette in the first round of the NCAA tournament. They were on the road, so no Speedos in the stands. This is NPR News.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
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