Reports: Louisville plans to fire coach Kenny Payne


Louisville plans to inform Kenny Payne that he will not return as the program’s head coach, multiple media outlets reported.

The Cardinals concluded an 8-24 season (3-17 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) on Tuesday with an eighth straight loss, a 94-85 setback to North Carolina State in the first round of the ACC tournament.

Payne, 57, posted a 12-52 record during his two seasons with Louisville. He is expected to receive approximately $8 million as a buyout for what remains on his six-year contract.

Payne appeared to deflect blame on Tuesday when asked by reporters if he feels he should return for a third season with the Cardinals.

“For me, I go back to Day One,” he said. “When I walked into the program as the new head coach, I talked about, I needed everybody on the same page. We sort of forgot that. I talked about how I’m not going to let you blame me. I’m not standing up here by myself. I need all of Louisville with me. We sort of forgot that. I talked about, it’s going to take time, and I’m going to watch and see who jumped on and off the Titanic. We sort of forgot that. I gave a specific time. I said three or four years. And I’m good with that. That’s what I believed at that time, and that’s what I still believe it takes to fix this program.

“With guys like this, you have a foundation. Brandon (Huntley) Hatfield, Mike James, JJ Traynor, the young guys we have, we have a foundation. Whether I’m the coach or not, I can look in the mirror and say I gave it everything I had to help this program.”

Payne, who played at Louisville and won a national title with the Cardinals in 1986, was named the program’s coach after the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. Louisville limped to a 4-28 record overall and 2-18 in ACC play in 2022-23.