Pitino elevates Willard to Associate Coach

University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino announced Friday afternoon the promotion of <b>Kevin Willard</b> from assistant to Associate Coach.

University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino announced Friday afternoon the promotion of Kevin Willard from assistant to Associate Coach.

"Kevin has been with me as an assistant for nearly nine years and has done an incredible job in helping us reach our goals," said Pitino. "He has passed on a few opportunities this year to become a head coach to help us grow in the BIG EAST and reach another Final Four."

Willard joined the Cardinals' staff as an assistant coach in April of 2001 after serving as a coaching associate under Pitino with the NBA Boston Celtics. He assists in game preparations, scouting and preparing game plans to aid the Cardinals in attacking their opposition.


Pitino also named junior Taquan Dean, and sophomore David Padgett 2005-06 team captains.

"This will be Taquan's third year as a team captain and he has certainly done a remarkable job as a leader for our basketball team," said Pitino. "David has great leadership skills and his experience will be much needed by a young basketball team that will play its first season in the BIG EAST Conference next season."

The Most Valuable Player of the 2005 Conference USA Tournament, Dean averaged 14.4 points as a junior while hitting a school-record 122 three-point goals. He was among the national leaders in three-pointer per game (3.3, 10th in the NCAA) and three-point field goal percentage (.447, 9th). A 6-3 guard from Red Bank, N.J. who will enter his senior year with 1,118 career points, Dean was honored on the All-Conference USA third team and the NCAA Tournament All Albuquerque Region team

Padgett sat out this season after transferring from Kansas. A 6-11 forward/center from Reno, Nev., he started 19 games for the Jayhawks as a freshman in 2003-04 when he averaged 6.4 points and 4.5 rebounds. A McDonald's All-American in high school, he shot 53.1 percent from the field and blocked a team-high 43 shots, the second-most ever for a Kansas freshman.

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