Kenny Payne fired after two disastrous seasons at Louisville

Kenny Payne has officially been fired after just two seasons as the head coach at Louisville, the school announced on Wednesday. This ends what has been one of the worst tenures for a major conference head coach in recent memory, with the Cardinals going just 12-52 overall.

“Kenny has given a great deal to this university over a span of nearly 40 years, and he will always be a valued member of our Louisville family,” AD Josh Heird said. “When we brought Kenny home in 2022, no one had a stronger belief than me in his potential success, but it’s become clear that a change is needed to help this program achieve what is expected and attainable. While it is always difficult to make a coaching transition, this is the right one for our program. On behalf of myself and everyone involved with our men’s basketball program, I want to thank Kenny for his dedication to UofL. I wish him and his family the very best in their future.”

Payne’s hiring was a huge deal and while it was clear there would be some rebuilding involved, no one could have predicted how truly awful the Cards were going to be. So bad that a not-small segment of the fan base was calling for Payne’s firing before the conference schedule even started in his FIRST season. It was one of the worst seasons we’ve ever seen from a program of UL’s stature: four wins, all at home, to finish 4-28 (2-18) and rarely looking competitive in any of those losses.

Despite being hired in part for his recruiting connections, Payne lost must-have recruit DJ Wagner to Kentucky and had to patch together a roster of transfers and less-heralded recruits for year two; the Cards were technically better, winning 8 total games and 3 in the ACC, but still finished in last and were bounced from the ACC Tournament on Tuesday in what seemingly everyone knew was Payne’s final game at the helm of his alma mater.

The buyout on Payne’s contract at this point is reported to be $8 million.

The Louisville search will be one of the most interesting stories of this Coaching Carousel cycle, with tons of names having been thrown around for months. We will be reporting and summarizing what we hear on social media – follow us on Threads and X for all the latest!


credit to Louisville Athletics for the image