Payne played at Louisville, and later would spend a decade in the state as an assistant down the road at Kentucky. However, it seemed like he never truly understood how big this position was. Payne made some rounds around the community in the couple months after he was hired, and that’s it. He also didn’t do himself any favors with the media considering the only time he ever interacted with the local media was in contract-mandated pre- and post-game press conferences, plus his coaches show.

In fact, when Heird was asked about what qualities he is looking for in Louisville’s next head coach, being able to foster relationships with the community and the media was the very first thing that came out of his mouth.

“I think one of the qualities that’s really important to me is the ability to connect and create that connective tissue with the fans, the media, the players, and everybody,” he said. “They have to have the ability to do that.

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