U of L basketball legend now serves as university ambassador Monday, Feb 8 2021 

By Madelin Shelton —

Darrell Griffith, legendary U of L basketball player, has come back to U of L to serve as a university ambassador. Griffith will be working out of the President Neeli Bendapudi’s office, specifically on her diversity, inclusion and anti-racism efforts. He will also work with the University Advancement office to help cultivate donors and will coordinate on legislative issues important to U of L, among other duties. Griffith began on Nov. 16.

When asked what he was most excited for in his new role, Griffith said, “Reconnecting with the university, doing my part to make the university better and to make a change.”

Griffith also discussed what kept drawing him back to U of L and the city of Louisville.

“I was born and raised here. I played ball here at the University of Louisville and got my degree here, and I just want to see the university do better,” he said. “I want to have a part in helping kids get their education. The university has a footprint in the community. There are so many good things it can do, and it has done, and I just want to further that mission.”

In regard to the university’s anti-racism agenda, Griffith discussed what was most important. “The main thing you have to do when dealing with an anti-racism agenda is to have open ears. You have to listen to the pain and the concerns that people have when it comes to racism. That’s the first step.”

He went on to describe the importance of having an inclusive campus. “It’s good to have an inclusive university from all angles and to make feel everyone feel welcome,” he said.

Nicknamed “Dr. Dunkenstein,” Griffith was the leader of the 1980 Cardinal basketball team that won a national championship. He was also a first-team All-American and national collegiate player of the year. Following his collegiate career, Griffith was drafted into the National Basketball Association as a member of the Utah Jazz. During his NBA career, he earned the rookie of the year award. Following his 10-year career, the Utah Jazz retired his jersey in 1993.

Upon retirement, Griffith returned home to Louisville to pursue a successful business career.

Griffith was previously associated with U of L from 2006 to 2017 as special assistant to the president and director of community relations but was let go due to a reduction in force.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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