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Kevin Keatts Accepts Head Coaching Job At UNC-Wilmington

The Rick Pitino coaching tree grew yet another limb on Thursday when it was announced that assistant Kevin Keatts has been hired as the new head coach at UNC-Wilmington.

Keatts, who will stay with Louisville until the end of the season, becomes the fourth Cardinal assistant to accept a head coaching gig in as many years.

"Kevin Keatts is one of the top young basketball coaches in the country and we welcome him to the Seahawk family," UNCW athletic director Jimmy Bass said in a release. "We're very excited about what lies ahead for our program."

Keatts joined the Louisville staff before the 2011-12 season, and has since helped the Cards to two Final Fours, a national title and its current run to the Sweet 16. When he leaves, Keatts will become the 12th former Pitino assistant currently holding down a head coaching gig.

"Kevin has been one of the best assistant coaches with which I have had the good fortune to work, and I've had a lot of them," Pitino said in the UNCW release. "He is a terrific person, coach, scout, family man and recruiter. He possesses all of the variables to build a successful program. We are really going to miss his upbeat personality that provided sunshine to each of us daily."

UNC-Wilmington went 9-23 this season under fourth-year coach Buzz Peterson, who was fired earlier this month.