Louisville coach Kenny Payne to be fired after going 12-52 in two seasons, AP source says

Wed, Mar 13, 2024
NCAAB News (AP)

Louisville coach Kenny Payne to be fired after going 12-52 in two seasons, AP source says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Louisville plans to fire coach Kenny Payne after he went 12-52 in two seasons, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press late Tuesday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Louisville officials had not yet met with Payne.

The coach said after the Cardinals' 94-85 first-round loss to North Carolina State in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament on Tuesday that he had not been informed of his status with the program.

Payne went 8-24 this season and 3-17 in the ACC, and Tuesday's loss was the Cardinals' eighth in a row. Louisville is 1-28 away from home under the former Cardinals player and has just five wins in ACC play.

Payne has a six-year contract that runs through 2028 and calls for an $8 million buyout by April 1. He was paid a $3.35 million annual salary, plus incentives.

The Mississippi native was hired in March 2022 amid a public appeal for him to return to the Cardinals after the firing of Chris Mack. Payne was a 1,000-point scorer while playing under Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum from 1985-89.

He played briefly in the NBA before starting a coaching career that included 10 years as an assistant under John Calipari at Kentucky and two years as an assistant with the New York Knicks.

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Payne's experience as a recruiter and developer of post players didn't serve him in his first head coaching job. Louisville began 0-9 on the way to an historic 4-28 finish last season, a program high for losses.

The Cardinals continued to struggle on both ends of the floor this season and lost games to opponents they were expected to beat.

As the losses mounted, attendance at their 22,090-seat home arena cratered to just over a quarter of its capacity.

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