By Daniel Rankin —

After an extensive national search and eight weeks of rumors and speculation, Louisville fans and students finally have the answer they’ve been waiting for. 

Today the University of Louisville Board of Directors and Athletics Association have officially announced that New York Knicks Assistant Coach Kenny Payne will become the next head coach of Louisville men’s basketball. 

Kenny Payne, who becomes the 22nd head coach in Louisville’s cherished basketball history, is no stranger to Cardinal red. From 1985 to 1989, Payne played for the Cards under hall of fame coach Denny Crum, winning the national championship in 1986 and becoming 2nd team All-American in 1985. 

In the 1989 NBA Draft, Payne was selected 19th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers but lived a short professional career. Since then, Payne has found tremendous success as a coach on the collegiate and professional levels. 

The University of Oregon gave Payne his first opportunity in 2004 as an assistant coach. In 2010, Payne returned to the state of Kentucky as an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky.  

While in Lexington, Payne grew a national reputation as one of college basketball’s best recruiters. Even more impressive is his ability to convert elite college basketball recruits into some of the biggest stars in the NBA, including multiple all-star and world champion players. 

In 2014, Payne was promoted to associate head coach, becoming John Calipari’s right-hand man. Overall, the Wildcats won six SEC Championships and one national title in 2012 during Payne’s tenure. Louisville will undoubtedly be hoping Payne can bring similar success to the KFC Yum! Center. 

Recently, Payne has been serving as a New York Knicks assistant coach but today marks the beginning of a new era for both himself and Louisville Basketball. 

Stay tuned for more as we bring you exclusive coverage and reaction to Louisville Basketball’s new head coach.

Photo Courtesy // The Associated Press