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Kenny Payne to be next Louisville head coach

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It’s finally happening.

San Francisco Giants v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

UPDATE

According to multiple media reports, former Kentucky Wildcats assistant Kenny Payne will be the next head coach of the Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball program. He will replace Chris Mack, who mutually parted ways with the program in January.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reports that Payne is set to be introduced as Louisville’s next coach at a Friday press conference.

It’s crazy to think Payne helped both Louisville (1986) and Kentucky (2012) win national championships. That alone will add some much-needed spice to UK - UofL rivalry.


It would appear Kenny Payne is closing in on becoming the Louisville Cardinals’ next head coach.

According to Pat Forde, Louisville has narrowed its coaching search down to Payne, who played at the school and won a national championship with the Cardinals in 1986.

There is nothing definite yet, with discussions ongoing and no job offered or accepted, sources said. But if talks proceed well over the next 24 hours, Payne could be introduced as the new coach of the Cardinals as soon as Thursday.

Payne was John Calipari’s right-hand man from 2010-20, serving as assistant head coach from 2010-2014 and associate head coach from 2014-20.

At Kentucky, Payne helped guide the Wildcats to four Final Four appearances and the 2012 National Championship. He also helped develop three No. 1 overall NBA Draft picks in John Wall, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns.

After the 2019-20 season, Payne left Lexington to join the New York Knicks coaching staff under Tom Thibodeau as an assistant.

It’s hard to believe the 55-year-old Payne has never been a head coach, but he’s certainly one of, if not the most popular choice among fans and media to be the Cardinals’ next coach.

Payne at Louisville would also spice up the Kentucky - Louisville rivalry, which has fallen off a bit since Rick Pitino was canned.