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Nervous Padgett set for head coaching debut at Louisville

From FOX Sports - November 11, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)David Padgett insists his nervousness debuting as Louisvilles acting coach is about wins and losses.

Its not that simple. Padgett has had to deal with much more than just basketball.

He is replacing longtime coach Rick Pitino amid a national federal investigation into the corruption of college basketball. The probe has cast a shadow over the Cardinals program. Then theres the scrutiny the former Pitino assistant faces as a first-time coach of one of the sports marquee programs heading into the No. 16 Cardinals season opener Sunday against George Mason.

The questions and attention wont end even if the favored Cardinals beat the Patriots.

A loss, though, could raise more questions as to whether the 32-year-old is the right man to guide Louisvilleeven on an interim basisas the university navigates its way through another scandal.

Padgett has tried to keep the focus on basketball, and the butterflies he feels indicates he feels the pressure.

Each day that goes by I get a little bit more nervous, Padgett said Friday. Now, Im nervous for the right reasons and what I mean by that is its more win-loss nerves than Ive-never-done-this-before nervous.

I just want to make sure guys are ready to go, I know they will be. Were getting there, Im sure Ill be pretty jittery but as long as our guys are ready to go, thats all that matters.

In many respects, Padgett and the Cardinals have been getting ready since Sept. 29.

The 6-foot-11 former Louisville player was named acting coach on that date, three days after Louisville acknowledged it was being investigated in the federal probe. Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave earlier that tumultuous week before his firing on Oct. 16 after 16 seasons on the sidelines for the Cardinals.

Padgett and the Cardinals insist theyve been focused on basketball to avoid being distracted by the investigation and the national attention it has generated. Two exhibition games have included growing pains of transition for the coach and players, and they concede it will be a work in progress.

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