Louisville talks with Charleston's Pat Kelsey ramp up as Cardinals seek to hire next basketball coach

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Charleston vs Alabama

The Louisville coaching search appears to be on the verge of ending. The Cardinals have been in talks with Charleston coach Pat Kelsey to succeed Kenny Payne, though a deal between the parties has not been finalized, sources tell CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander.

Jon Rothstein reported Wednesday that Kelsey and Louisville will come to terms “barring something unforeseen” — a day after there were reports that New Mexico’s Richard Pitino was a top Louisville target. However, at this juncture, the Cardinals have yet to make a hire, sources tell Norlander.

Kelsey has spent the last three seasons at Charleston, compiling a 74-27 record and guiding the Cougars to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances the past two seasons.

Kelsey, 48, started his college coaching career as an assistant at Wake Forest in 2004 and spent five seasons with the program before becoming the associate head coach at Xavier — his alma mater. Kelsey coached nine seasons at Winthrop and compiled a 186-95 record at the school before taking the job at Charleston.

Charleston finished the 2023-24 season with a 27-8 record and fell to Alabama 109-96 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last week. 

Louisville fired Payne earlier this month after two disappointing seasons with the program. The Cardinals finished 8-24 this season — doubling their number of victories after going 4-28 in Payne’s first season. Payne finished with a 12-52 record at the school after he was hired in 2022 to replace former coach Chris Mack.

Kelsey coached under Mack while he was at Xavier. Mack started as an assistant with the Musketeers in 2004 before being promoted to the head man 2009 — the same year Kelsey joined the staff.

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