Louisville Basketball Head Coach Candidates: Who Will Replace Kenny Payne?

Louisville Basketball Head Coach Candidates: Who Will Replace Kenny Payne?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The search for the next Louisville Cardinals basketball coach seemed to be in disarray over the weekend after Florida Atlantic’s Dusty May, the school’s second choice after Baylor’s Scott Drew turned UofL down, opted to go to Michigan instead.

However, by Monday evening, it appeared the search had been centered around two candidates with a third familiar name potentially in the mix, too. With that in mind, BetKentucky.com has once again revised its odds for the next coach of the Cards.

Although you will not find them at any licensed Kentucky sports betting operator, you can go to those places to bet on the NCAA Tournament, where Connecticut is the current national title favorite at +200 odds.

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Odds To Be Louisville’s Next Basketball Coach

CoachCurrent JobOddsImplied Probability
Josh SchertzIndiana State+20033.33%
Pat KelseyCollege of Charleston+40020.0%
Richard PitinoNew Mexico+60014.29%
The Field+10009.09%
Eric MusselmanArkansas+15006.25%
Jerome TangKansas State+17505.41%
Mick CroninUCLA+20004.76%
Shaheen HollowaySeton Hall+25003.85%
Jamie DixonTexas Christian+30003.23%
Odds provided by BetKentucky.com and not available at Kentucky betting apps.

Down To Two?

At this point, it appears to be a two-horse race — have we mentioned you can check out Kentucky Derby odds at BetKentucky.com as well — between Josh Schertz of Indiana State and College of Charleston’s Pat Kelsey. Kelsey’s team was eliminated last week by Alabama in the NCAA Tournament, while the Sycamores play in the NIT quarterfinals against Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

Schertz has also been linked to taking the head coaching position at Saint Louis, which he would likely take shortly after Indiana State’s NIT run ends — unless Louisville moves on him. UofL has more resources and better facilities than SLU and should be able to exceed any offer the Billikens make.

Kelsey is a Cincinnati native who was an assistant under former Louisville coach Chris Mack at Xavier.

While both have had success throughout their careers, neither has head coaching experience at the major level. However, after watching Kenny Payne struggle on the sidelines the past two seasons, one can argue any head coaching experience helps. If either should land the UofL position, they could add a veteran assistant to help acclimate them to life in a power conference.

If neither land (or accept) the job, and let’s be honest here, at this stage, there are no guarantees, it appears New Mexico coach Richard Pitino, who was an assistant and associate head coach at UofL under his father Rick, may get an offer. While Rick Pitino’s tenure at Louisville ended under a cloud of NCAA investigations, which led to him suing the school for breach of contract, media reports Monday indicated the younger Pitino would be willing to come back. The Pitino name still carries a lot of cache in the area. However, while Richard Pitino has taken UNM and Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament three times over the past decade, he has had his share of struggles as well.

The Drama Continues

This would not be a Louisville basketball coach search if there was not some drama, and on Monday, we got even more.

During his afternoon radio show, Bob Valvano mentioned a conversation he had with Schertz while at Indiana State to be a commentator for an NIT game. Valvano said he was told by Schertz, who happens to be good friends with May, that May received death threats from Louisville fans. That led to May taking the Michigan job instead.

Hours later, though, May told LEO columnist Tim Sullivan that no such thing had happened, prompting Valvano to walk back that claim with Sullivan.

So, what happens next in this ongoing sports-themed soap opera? Keep following BetKentucky.com for the latest on the Louisville basketball coach search and for Kentucky betting promos.

USA Today photo by Grace Hollars.



Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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