Another Louisville Cardinal Tradition Gone

LouHarry Bockman died last week. He was 89.

Those of my era who attended U of L knew him well.

He worked in the Registrar’s office, though I’m not sure any of us could tell you what he did there.

He also was part of the Chain Gang at home Cardinal football games. Did it for years. Paid for his own stripes, he once told me.

Until Howard Schnellenberger arrived, and wanted his own new, improved Chain Gang. Harry’s beloved task was taken from him. Harry didn’t have the fondest things to say about The Schnell, though I’m sure he appreciated what he did for the football program.

Harry loved U of L.

What I frankly never knew about Harry until I read the obit in the C-J was that he won a Purple Heart for his service in WWII. And that he was an “undefeated track champion” and All-American.

But Harry’s real claim to U of L fame, what makes him an immediate member of the Cardinal Hall of Fame, was his role as Gatekeeper to the Student Section for Cardinal hoops at Freedom Hall.

In those days, students actually got in the games free. True. First one, first seated. All one had to do was show Harry your ID at the entrance in the back of Freedom Hall.

There was no pulling a fast one on Harry, like bringing in a friend and trying to swoop past him. Harry new everyone’s face on campus. He didn’t suffer scofflaws. That entrance was also used by ticket holders, and many, including myself continued to use it for some time after graduating. Harry continued to ask for my ID . . . for years.

Harry was a pip.

Harry Bockman. R.I.P.


  1. doug
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Yes, R.I.P. Harry.
    Harry stuck out on the chain gang because of his very gangly and awkward gate. I loved watching him run the sidelines after a long play from scrimmage.
    And little got by him in that rear corner entrance to Freedom Hall. It seemed that he knew every student on campus!

  2. fred
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Harry. Rest in peace,

  3. Steve
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I knew Harry from my days as a student at U of L and working at the Dept. of Public Safety. I got to really know him the last few years when I would see him at his retirement home. Harry was injured in the D-Day invasion and spent a considerable amount of time recovering from his wounds. After the war Harry went to U of L and ran track. He could not start from the block like other runners. due to his war injuries.
    I got to talk to quite a few members of the “Greatest Generation” at the retirement home and I always found it funny the guys who spent their WW II service time in motor pools or other support services were eager to talk about their experiences. The guys who saw combat never did. The very few times Harry mentioned WW II his eyes would well up and his voice quivered.
    Thank-you Harry RIP.

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