Louisville Head Coaching Rumors Loom as the Kenny Payne Era Nears an End

Here comes another March head coaching search
Louisville v Duke
Louisville v Duke / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Kenny Payne will finish his 2nd year at Louisville this saturday night against Boston College, and after the ACC tournament he will likely be let go of his job as the Cardinals head coach.

Payne has a whopping record of 12-51 in nearly 2 seasons at Louisville, and that is just not up to snuff for Louisville's expectations on where the program should be. We really have known this since early January where this was going to go, and it was just a matter of time before rumors about Payne's replacement would surface.

This morning on ESPN Louisville, Drew Deener talked about information he got from his sources on who could be Payne's predecessor. He mentioned Scott Drew at Baylor being the unanimous #1 guy for the job that Louisville wanted, but that they were running out of time and needed an answer from Drew. While he also mentioned that Louisville had a #2 guy who would likely take the job if given the choice, and that BIlly Donovan could potentially be a candidate for the job, but that it isn't very likely to happen.

It seems as of now Scott Drew is who Josh Heird is holding out for, but if Drew says no to Louisville he seems to have a couple of backup plans for the University. For the 2nd choice behind Drew I would expect it to be somebody like Mick Cronin from UCLA or possibly someone like Eric Musselman from Arkansas. These are coaches who can leave their current school for a lower price and would likely be a safe hire for Louisville.

While Cronin's buyout is north of 16 million, many local media members have suggested that with UCLA's move to the Big Ten the buyout could essentially be dropped. While that is not set in stone, many media members like Mike Rutherford of Card Chronicle and Ty Spalding from Rivals.com have suggested that it is a very high possibility of the buyout being waived if Louisville really wanted to hire Cronin.

This is just the beginning of rumors and the coaching search for the Louisville head coaching job, but as the weeks go on these rumors and "unknown sources" will become more focused and we will have a much better idea of who could be the Louisville basketball head coach come next season.

There is one known in this coaching search for Louisville however, and that is it will likely not be Kenny Payne in 2024-25, from all the information we now know.

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