The Yum! Center on the day of the official announcement. (Michael McCammon)
The Yum! Center on the day of the official announcement.

Michael McCammon

Louisville Hires Kenny Payne as Next Basketball Coach

Friday, March 18, 2022 — Kenny Payne is officially announced as the next head coach at the University of Louisville. The fan favorite is finally home.

March 18, 2022

After 51 days since the firing of former head coach Chris Mack, Louisville has finally settled on former Cardinal player Kenny Payne to be the next head coach at Louisville. Payne will become just the fourth head coach Louisville has hired in the last 51 years (since 1971). 


Payne signed with Louisville after two seasons as an assistant coach for the New York Knicks. He also served as an assistant at Oregon from 2004-2009 and spent a decade at Kentucky — from 2010-2014 as an assistant and from 2014-2020 as the associate HC. 


Payne’s former head coach and UofL legend Denny Crum greeting Payne off the plane. (WDRB)


Payne is very familiar with Louisville as he played for the Cards in the 80s (1985-1989). He had a very successful collegiate career at Louisville, winning a national title in 1986. Payne ultimately played well enough to get drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1989 as the 19th pick in the 1st round. 


The Laurel, Mississippi native has been considered one of the best recruiters during his coaching career. He was the lead recruiter on a multitude of 5-stars and NBA talent, some of which include De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis, and Tyler Herro. 


Finally, the coaching carousel is over for Cards fans. As one, it’s been a very exhausting and tiring few months, but I’m optimistic we made a fantastic hire. Overall, with the way NIL (Name-Image-Likeness) plays a part in recruiting these days combined with how good of a recruiter Kenny Payne is, Louisville should start bringing in better talent from the get-go. If Payne can bring in a good, structured coaching staff with him, which is rumored to be the case, the Cards should be a lot more fun for years to come. 


Kenny Payne arriving in from Bowman Fields on Thursday, March 18, 2022. (WDRB)



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