Pat Kelsey: Peyton Siva’s Hiring ‘Very Beneficial Moving Forward’ for Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On top of facing the dubious task of flipping an entire roster over, new Louisville men’s basketball coach Pat Kelsey also had the undertaking of filling out his staff at his new home.

This proved to be a little easier than recruiting new players, as his top three assistants and strength and conditioning coach at Charleston all decided to follow Kelsey to the Cardinals. Other support staff members, such as Jermaine Ukaegbu, Mitch Johnson and Braden Connor, also did the same.

While the majority of this staff is full of names that are brand new to Louisville fans, there is one support staff member whose name carries a lot of weight behind it amongst the fanbase and city as a whole. To be his Director of Player Development and Basketball Alumni Relations, Kelsey hired Peyton Siva to the role.

When Siva might be entering his first season on a college coaching staff, Kelsey calls Siva’s addition to his staff “very beneficial moving forward.”

“One thing of significance I think we did that’s going to be very beneficial moving forward, and being a conduit or bridging between me and those former players, is Peyton Siva,” Kelsey told WDRB’s Tyler Greever in a recent interview. “Peyton is one of the hires that we made on the staff and gosh, is he a special, special person. Obviously, he’s one of the most beloved figures.”

As Kelsey noted, in Siva’s role, he will be responsible for helping bridge the gap between the current regime and the former players from all generations of the Louisville men’s basketball program. Because of his “infectious personality” and the amount of relationships he has fostered within the community, Kelsey believes Siva was the perfect hire for the role.

“Peyton is an infectious personality,” he said. “Great heart. He’s got great energy. He’s respected by all the former players. He has so many relationships, not only with the basketball alumni, but in the city of Louisville as well. And people say all the time, ‘Did you hire him because of that bridge and that connection?’ I said, ‘I mean, that’s a byproduct.’ But the biggest reason I hired him was he blew me away when I interviewed him. He’s just smart.”

Of course, on top of the Basketball Alumni Relations role, Siva will also be taking on a bit of on-the-court coaching role as the Director of Player Development. Siva might not have any prior D1 coaching experience in any capacity, but after his interview, Kelsey knew right away that that would not be a problem, and that a future in coaching could come later on down the line for him.

“He is wicked smart,” Kelsey said when asked what stood out during Siva’s interview. “He’s got great character and a dynamic personality. He is a great communicator, phenomenal with relationships, principled and hardworking. Yeah, he is all the things that you want in a high-level staff member.”

A four-year player from 2009 to 2013, Siva is one of the top point guards in program history. He has the second-most assists and steals with 677 and 254, respectively, and is a 1000-point scorer with 1,215 career points. He’s a two-time Big East Tournament MVP, and as a senior, his collegiate career culminated with a Third-Team All-Big East nod and the Cardinals’ third national championship.

“I’m excited and honored to join Coach Kelsey’s staff,” Siva said in a statement after his hiring was officially announced. “I love Louisville, and I loved putting that jersey on and playing in front of the best fans in the country. And now I have the amazing opportunity to help build this program back up from the sidelines.

“I am thankful to Coach Kelsey for allowing me to use the experience and knowledge that I’ve gathered over the years playing for this university and professionally, to help mentor and develop our student-athletes on and off the court. I am also looking forward to building the bridge and relationships between our esteemed alumni and our talented new staff and players. Go Cards!”

After graduating, the Seattle native was selected by the Pistons with No. 56 overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, but spent just one season with Detroit. He also had some overseas stops in Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Greece and Australia.

More recently, Siva opened the basketball training facility “Shoot 360” last Septemer. He also played on the first iteration of the Louisville alumni TBT team “The Ville” last summer. Siva has also been regularly around the program since moving back to Louisville.

(Photo of Peyton Siva: Michael Clevenger – Courier Journal / USA)

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