Seedy K: Pat Kelsey Leads Off

Please allow  me to introduce myself/ I’m a man of . . . 

On an opening day when new U of L basketball coach Pat Kelsey by most all accounts hit for the cycle, after inquiring of a friend in the crowd the score of the Reds game, it was his Grand Slam moment.

Several hundred boosters, fans, former ballers from every era going back to Peck Hickman were gathered on the hardwood of the Cardinals’ state of the art practice facility on Floyd Street.

They were one must assume the faithiest of the faithful.

One lady adorned in red and black turned to me before the proceedings and after some sweet words, said, “You understand the importance of December 19, 1979.” When she saw the question marks in my eyes, those of a fellow who has lived and died as much Louisville hoops as any among the assembled, said, “Ohio State.”

“Of course, the harbinger game in our first championship season.”

She knew the date for heaven’s sake. Now, that’s the sign of faith.

There were enough Dunking Cardinal logos on shirts and pants and jackets for an army.

But those gathered were anxious and curious. There was an undercurrent of skepticism about Kelsey, who let’s be honest was not most Cardinal fans fave for the job.

Then Kelsey stepped to the plate.

He spoke with conviction, leaning toward the fans, constantly resetting his glasses which kept slipping not from gesticulation but the fellow’s unending momentum.

Articulate, funny, insightful, sometimes spiritual, he warmed up.

Then he told the joke about a dream with him being shown around heaven by St. Peter, which I’m not going to repeat in full — go watch the tape. It had two punch lines.

The first, when he sees two glorious blue houses, and asks his host who lives in those?

“Scott Drew and Dusty May.”

Laughter in full. Extended ovation.

You could almost smell the sweet aroma of hope fill the gym.

PK was asked about recruiting at a higher level than Winthrop and Charleston. He subtly admonished the questioner, “When an assistant at Wake Forest,  recruited Chris Paul.”

“You want to know how I can recruit? Have you met my wife? And I was her third choice.”

Josh Heird famously said he wanted a coach who “would crawl to Louisville.”

He found him.

During his intro Heird,  after joking to laughter about how much “support and guidance” he’d gotten from every quarter, said his first conversations with Kelsey about the position were the Friday before Selection Sunday.

Then the process played out, while Kelsey, I’m thinking not so patiently, waited. Heird and Kelsey spoke several times and again Tuesday evening. The AD told him he needed to sleep on the decision one more night.

Kelsey said he slept easily.

That I do not believe.

The next day the deal was done.

Thursday was Day One of the next chapter of Cardinal hoops.

What Kelsey will craft on that same Cardinal hardwood and at the Yum! is yet to be seen.

Hopefully March 28, 2024 was a harbinger.

It says here Cardinal basketball months before the first tip, with a roster to be assembled, attitudes and systems to be installed, stands 1-0.

You can’t always get what you want/ But if you try sometime you’ll find/ You can what you need

— c d kaplan

11 thoughts on “Seedy K: Pat Kelsey Leads Off

  1. Very impressive! Now we will find out if he is a snake oil salesman (and a great one) or the real deal. So far I’m a believer.

  2. He could sleep on the bench during games and never attend practice and we would be better coached than the last two seasons. Just get a few dudes in and see what he can do. Grow it from there..

  3. December 18,1976. I am a Marquette fan living in Wisconsin and we lose to Louisville (at home!) led by a freshman doing other-worldly things. I had a feeling a title would be forthcoming, but Al did have to get his first.

    So what was the question? Apparently is was too much for the radio talking heads to comprehend, because they could not recall or repeat it. They did give you a shout out for the “typical CD Kaplan 3 or 4 part question”.

    1. Not an exact quote, but “have you had a chance to evaluate the players on the roster? Have you met them in person? Are there any you have determined you want to retain?”

  4. This guy is an over the top salesman. After all, he tells us he was a car salesman. He has toiled in non power 6 schools. He has won a lot of games and that is good. He is Ofor in 4 NCAA tournaments. He has not recruited on a day to day basis with the “big boys” nor has his teams ever had to play the best of the best on a week to week basis. He has not had to deal with a rabid fan base which is win starved. And lastly,
    was his dance card filled by those blue blood schools looking to fill their coaching vacancies, eg. Michigan et al. Louisville is a hall of fame pedigree school.
    So, what is my point. Keep your expectations in check and proceed with caution. This ain’t gonna be a cake walk.

  5. I second the motion that you asked the best question(s) of all
    the media heads.

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