Another sad walk off the court for Kenny Payne at the end of his second season as UofL coach (Mike DeZarn photo).
Coach Kenny Payne still looking for answers but finding none as his UofL career winds down (Mike DeZarn photo).

Unless destiny continues to be cruel to the University of Louisville basketball program, the end of the Kenny Payne era may have finally arrived Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center. No doubt about the outcome of the game, still another loss, the 23rd of the season in a string of continued disappointments.

There are no guarantees that Coach Kenny Payne will be fired before Wednesday. No guarantees either that he won’t be back. If he makes it through the week, the nightmare that began two years ago will continue indefinitely.

Louisville lost to Boston College 67-61 for the team’s second loss to the Golden Eagles this season. The Cardinals scored the first four points of the game, but hit the brick wall earlier than usual, allowing Boston College to go on a 17-1 run. Payne’s charges managed to keep the opposition with 10 and 12  points most of the way but unable or unwilling to play defense. Incapable of overcoming the smallest of deficits, lack of will, lack of talent, lack of vision, just too much lacking to go around.

“I am disappointed in the fact that we had Senior Night and came out and played the way we played – lethargic and uninterested,” Payne said. “I am very disappointed in that. … We have to play with a different fire. We have to play with a different purpose. I don’t think we did that. At the end of that, to only lose the game by six, what could we have done better individually or collectively to make sure we walk out of here with a win for our teammates?”

A familiar refrain coming from the UofL post-game press conference. Kenny Payne says all the right things, but when it comes to fixing them he has no answers. Minimal progress over the course of his two seasons at Louisville. Unable to recruit major talent, unable to take advantage of the portal, unable to benefit from one of the most lucrative NIL bankrolls in the nation.

Unable to excite the fan base, unable to communicate with the fans at all. Seemingly hasn’t made an honest effort to do the things necessary to succeed at Louisville.

The Kenny Payne experiment should be wrapped up this week if Louisville basketball has any hopes for retaining its fiercely-loyal fan base.

The biggest highlight of the day was Kathy Tronzo retiring as sports information assistant after 50 years on her 50th wedding anniversary. Her retired boss Kenny Klein recalls memories (Mike DeZarn photo).
Two University of Louisville fans having fun in spite of the disappointments on the basketball court (Mike DeZarn photo).


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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

4 thoughts on “Kenny Payne experiment should be done this week”
  1. It seems necessary to move on, doesn’t it. I know it was with the best of intentions that KP was foisted upon the program. Do those who pushed so hard promoting him now see that he wasn’t ready, as some feared/wondered when he was being considered? Are they saying as much now? Will they be humbled by this?
    I asked during the run up to hiring KP why, if he wanted the job, why wasn’t he saying so? Would I now be wrong to see an analogy between his communication skills then and now, lacking in both cases.

    1. I believe fans associated Kenny with UK’s recruiting success and thought he would have amazing success on the recruiting trail. The experience over the last two years at UofL leads me to believe he was little more than a go-between, more in charge of delivery of promised stuff rather than landing actual recruits. He never came close to getting any commitments during the past season. How was he going to improve the product on the floor? Nike was never going to support him or provide any monetary support at an Adidas school. Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson about UK envy and the consequences of wishful thinking. The very hard way to learn.

  2. I’ve been a cards fan forever and I will always be a fan but it’s been so difficult to for me to even watch the games the past two years kp needs to go

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