The two discussed the current roster and transfer portal about midnight Wednesday night. By Thursday morning at 5:30, Heird said he already had a text from Kelsey.

Kelsey wouldn’t say if any of his Charleston players would be joining him in Louisville. There appears to be plenty of room as UofL currently has just three players on the roster with 10 in the portal.

Kelsey said he searched online for the top 50 players ever to play for the Cardinals and was blown away. He stressed any former player is welcome around the program and can show up at practice whenever they choose — including Payne, who he mentioned by name.

He was asked how long fans should expect to wait before the program returns to its winning ways.

“If you don’t plan on winning, don’t put your shoes on,” Kelsey said. “That’s how I’m wired. I don’t know how to play any other way.”

Louisville owes $1.1 million to Charleston, according to buyout terms of Kelsey’s contract, which were obtained by WHAS11 News Thursday through a public records request. The Cardinals decided on Kelsey after missing on Florida Atlantic’s Dusty May, who chose Michigan over Louisville last weekend.

Kelsey, 48, was born in Cincinnati and played at Xavier. He served as an assistant there under Chris Mack, who served as head coach at Louisville from 2

UofL is still paying Mack $133,000 a month through 2024.

Kelsey led Charleston to Coastal Athletic Association conference tournament titles and appearances in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons. After going 17-15 in his first year, he led the Cougars to records of 31-4 and 27-8.

He was named the 2024 CAA coach of the year.

Kelsey was the head coach at Winthrop for nine years, posting a record of 186-95. He made the NCAA Tournament his final two seasons with the Eagles.

Kelsey will earn a base salary of $2.3 million each year.

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