Louisville’s acting coach closed out Hearnes Center with game-winning shot for KU

KU’s David Padgett scores the game-winning shot over Missouri’s Arthur Johnson in the final men’s basketball game at Hearnes Center in Columbia, on March 7, 2004. | 2004 photo | The Kansas City Star

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David Padgett, Louisville’s acting basketball coach, should be a familiar face to Kansas fans … and perhaps to Missouri ones as well.

Padgett, who spent one season at KU in 2003-04, hit the final men’s basketball shot in Hearnes Center history, putting in a turnaround with 2 seconds left that gave the Jayhawks an 84-82 victory over the Tigers on March 7, 2004. He later called it an “ugly, lucky shot.”

A month later, Padgett announced he was transferring from KU before choosing Louisville. He played three seasons for coach Rick Pitino before going overseas for a brief professional career.

On Friday, Padgett was announced as the interim replacement for Pitino, as Louisville stayed in-house to maintain continuity in the wake of a nationwide federal investigation of college basketball.

University interim president Greg Postel announced the appointment, two days after Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave in the wake of the school’s acknowledgment of its involvement in a federal bribery investigation. Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was placed on paid administrative leave.

Padgett is 32 years old and coming off his first season as an assistant following two seasons as Louisville’s director of basketball operations. He has worked extensively with their frontcourt players while learning the ropes on the bench from his mentor Pitino.

The 6-foot-11 Padgett has also been Louisville’s strength coach (2010-11) in a career including three years as an IUPUI assistant.

The Star’s Jesse Newell contributed to this report: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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