The grind is over. Josh Heird and new UofL Coach Pat Kelsey enjoy the moment, a new beginning for UofL basketball (Mike DeZarn photo).
Full speed ahead for Pat Kelsey as he is introduced as the man who will turn Louisville basketball around on March 28, 2024 (Mike DeZarn photo).

Hear that? That’s the overwhelming relief of optimism engulfing the city of Louisville. Huge news in town tonight, bringing joy to all parts of the community. Light at the end of the tunnel, a spectacular blinding light.  The University of Louisville basketball program is being delivered from darkness, replacing hopelessness and despair with a promise of optimism and happiness. 

After two long weeks of an agonizing an agonizing coaching search that seemed to go in all directions, with the leading candidates changing almost daily. There seemed to be no end in sight, with UofL fans at each others’ throats, calling for changes in the university hierarchy, some threatening to withhold donations or  to even abandon the program altogether. A seemingly endless list of scribes claiming to have their own sources, vying to see who couldn’t be more wrong. Only one man knowing what was really going on, seemingly needing to have total control over the search, keeping even his most trusted confidants guessing.

UofL President Kim Schatzel keenly aware of importance of winning basketball (Mike DeZarn photo).

The ever-growing concern of the UofL fan base resting on Josh Heird’s shoulders as the UofL Athletic Driector, the burden of the unending speculation and analysis, threatening to drown out the voices of reason. Basketball is life to UofL fans and they were letting him know about it from dawn to dusk.

All the wishing, the wailing, the torment and the uncertainty finally coming to an end on Wednesday night when Josh Heird let it known that he would be recommending his choice to the UofL Board of Trustees on Wednesday.  So there he was, the Louisville Athletic Director at the podium in the UofL practice center on Thursday.  Josh Heird looking happy and relieved, although he had probably not slept soundly in at least at week. The search was over, the die had been cast. 

He would introduce Pat Kelsey, former coach at the College of Charleston as the new University of Louisville basketball coach. And within minutes Kelsey would have the crowd believing that Heird had more than likely made the best possible choice. It would be quickly become obvious that Kelsey was a man with supreme confidence in his abilities. A man who wanted the job so badly that if necessary he would have run all the way from Charleston to accept the position.

A man who recognizes the glorious history of UofL basketball, a man proud to stand on the same sidelines as Hall of Famers like former UofL coaches Denny Crum and Rick Pitino, A man who has risen from the ranks of a salesman on his father’s automobile business to assistant coaching positions at numerous schools before arriving at the College of Charleston.

A man who impressed The Observer as an individual who is not used to losing, wouldn’t countenance losing and expects to win at the University of Louisville. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done, a team that has to be rebuilt almost from scratch, a donor base that needs to courted heavily, a Name, Image and Likeness program that needs heavy barrels of cash, a fan base that needs to be respected and brought into the fold, a man who knows what made the UofL basketball program one of the best. He will devote all of his nervous energies, all of his waking hours to returning UofL basketball as one of the best in the nation again.

He left no doubt that he will be successful in the minds of anyone who attended the press conference at the UofL practice facility or viewed event on television.

Mark it down. The University of Louisville basketball began its return to glory on March 28, 2024. 

Two winners meet in the form of Pat Kelsey and Jeff Walz, UofL women’s basketball coach (Mike DeZarn photo).
A relieved Josh Heird shares his selection of the new coach, then goes home for some much deserved sleep (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.

2 thoughts on “Pat Kelsey leaves no doubt, sunny days ahead for Louisville basketball”
  1. Good words Charlie. Even more important is the hope that the subversives that took over the UofL athletic program are relegated to the garbage bins of history. Perhaps men such as Grissom, Schnatter and Postal are a faded memory of misguided souls desiring to downgrade a once vaunted athletic program and our beloved Cardinal can once again soar like an eagle.

  2. Coach Kelsey absolutely OWNED that room. With his delightful sense of humor, his graceful acknowledgement of the heritage of our program, with his already impressive familiarity with our opponents, he endeared himself to Cards fans. His energy levels as seen in videos preceded him. We fans have not been invigorated like this since Pitino. Coach hit all the right notes today. The 2024-2025 season has begun. Ls up up and away!

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