Kenny Payne was hired by Kentucky and John Calipari eight years ago in 2010.
In those eight years, Payne has coached and enjoyed four trips to the Final Four, a National Championship and a runner-up. Payne has also been vital to Calipari not just in coaching, but recruiting. Players love playing for Payne. Things are going great, but might that end soon?
Georgia fired Mark Fox this past Saturday after losing to Kentucky on Friday. That leaves us with the question of who is Georgia going to hire as their next coach?
Names like Thad Matta, Tom Crean and Scott Drew are some big names who have been mentioned for the job. But, then there’s the other names like Jeff Capel, who has been a head coach before and coached Blake Griffin at Oklahoma, and there’s Danny Hurley from mid major Rhode Island.
Then, yes, there’s Payne, who Georgia newspaper The Telegraph has as a candidate to replace Fox.
Payne is an outstanding recruiter, and put him in Georgia where basketball talent is plentiful would be great. He’s worked under one the best college coaches in the country Calipari. There’s definitely plenty of great rewards for Georgia for hiring Payne.
Yes, there is also a risk. Payne has never been a head coach before, everything that comes with being a new coach. There is, however, a good example of someone never being a head coach and then taking his team to the promise land within two years.
Doug Pederson has never been a head coach before, and he took his Eagles team to the Super Bowl and won it in his second year. It may be a different sport but the concept is the same. They have to get there start somewhere.
Personally, I don’t think Payne will be hired by Georgia, but if he were, he would be sorely missed by a lot of people in Big Blue Nation, along with Calipari. Hopefully, we get to enjoy another year with Coach Payne.