Press Conference Highlights:
--This is sort of back in the Big East, "Southern style." We had one of the toughest schedules in the country every year when we were in the Big East, and now we're back at it.
--This is about as exciting as it gets in terms of a schedule. Our non-conference has Minnesota, at Western Kentucky, the ACC/Big 10 Challenge, Kentucky and Indiana at Madison Square Garden. Our players are going to be very excited and obviously our fans are going to be very excited.
--With this schedule and with the young team we have, I immediately turned to Ralph Willard and asked if he would come back and join the staff. He said he'd love to, but that he was tied pretty tightly to the Oklahoma City Thunder right now.
--Ralph told me that he's been following the ACC and that what we need right now is somebody that is going to be able to flat out recruit. So I immediately called Richard and asked him to give me three candidates that are the best in the game for what we need. He came back with one name, and it was Kenny's. He said he'd be perfect for you, and I checked with Kevin Keatts and he agreed.
--We're also bringing back David Padgett to be our assistant video coordinator to groom him for that position when Doug Davenport leaves.
Press Conference Video:
Official U of L Release:
Kenny Johnson, assistant men's basketball coach and recruiting coordinator at Indiana University for the past two years, has joined the University of Louisville men's basketball staff as an assistant coach under head coach Rick Pitino.
While at Indiana, Johnson helped the Hoosiers assemble top 20 recruiting classes each of the past two seasons, including a top five class in 2013. On the court, Indiana produced a combined 46-22 record in his two seasons there, winning the Big Ten Championship, earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2013."We're very excited to have Kenny in our program," said Pitino. "The first thing I did when Kevin Keatts left to become the head coach at UNC Wilmington was to ask my son Richard (Pitino, head coach at Minnesota) to find the best rising assistant coach in the business. He spoke to a lot of people and they led directly to Kenny Johnson and others think he is outstanding as well. He is extremely bright, having studied cell, molecular biology and genetics in college."
ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman, after surveying more than 200 collegiate coaches, named Johnson as the nation's 11th most respected/feared assistant coach in a July 2013 listing after just two seasons as a collegiate assistant.
Johnson was an assistant coach at Towson for one season in 2011-12, helping assemble a top five mid-major recruiting class. He began his coaching career in 2002 as the associate head coach at Eleanor Roosevelt High School before moving to Dr. Henry Wise High School in 2006 for one year (2006-07). He was associate head coach at Paul IV High school for four years (2007-11) before advancing to the collegiate ranks.
Johnson served six years as assistant director and head of travel and logistics for the TeamTakeover AAU program and was the head coach of its 16 and under age group during that stint. The program produced a total of 53 Division I scholarship players during his stint there. His travel team tournament championships include the prestigious King James Classic (2009, 2010) and the Orlando National Super Showcase (2009).
In addition to his years as a camp coach at Eastern Invitational and Reebok Headliner Camp, Johnson was a guest clinician at the New England Basketball Coaching Clinic at Reebok Headquarters. He has also served as a camp and tournament director, beginning with the first Annual National High School Hoop Festival in 2007 and the first Annual DMV Basketball Coaching Clinic in 2008.
Johnson attended Oxon Hill (Md.) High School, where his playing career was cut short due to an injury in his second year of varsity basketball. As a senior at Oxon Hill in 1994, he was named Science and Technology Student of the Year. He earned his bachelor's degree in cell, molecular biology and genetics in 1999 at the University of Maryland, where he was a Benjamin Banneker Scholarship recipient. He worked as a protein chemist/molecular biologist at Human Genome Sciences in Rockville, Md. after graduation.
A native of Oxon Hill, Md., Johnson and his wife, Doreen, have two sons, Amare (11) and Mekai (8).
Johnson replaces Kevin Keatts, who left to become the head coach at UNC Wilmington. Keatts is the 27th former Pitino assistant or player who became a collegiate head coach, including 11 who are active Division I head coaches. Five of Pitino's former assistants had their teams advance to the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
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