The Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott hotel in Georgetown is conveniently situated in the heart of the Bluegrass Country and Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area.
It is minutes away from Historic Midway, Outlet Shopping, Georgetown College, Golfing, The Kentucky Hose Park, Touring Horse Farms, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, The Rolex 3 Day Event, The Festival of the Horse, NFL's Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp, and Keeneland Race Track.
MINNEAPOLIS -- "So tell me your story." If that sounds like a question that would begin a typical job interview, it's because it was -- sort of.
Kevin Keatts, a second-year assistant coach at Louisville, was asked that question while sitting across a narrow table from Charlie Cobb, the athletic director from Appalachian State, last week at a downtown Marriott in Minneapolis.
The exchange was the opening volley for Keatts' stint in the "Speed Dating" sessions that were part of Villa 7, a Nike-produced networking fest that sought to introduce up-and-coming assistant coaches to potential employers.
Keatts explained to Cobb just how he ended up at that table.
He grew up in Lynchburg, Va., played a little ball at Division III Ferrum College, started his coaching career as an assistant at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, spent two years as an assistant at Marshall, was hired back by Hargrave to be a head coach ("I tricked 'em into hiring me," he quipped), and then two years ago was plucked by Rick Pitino to join him at Louisville -- where, of course, Keatts' team won the NCAA championship last month.
His primary focus at Louisville is recruiting, so when Cobb asked what he looked for in a prospect, Keatts had a ready answer.
"The first thing I look for is character," he said. Their true character shows on the basketball court." The opportunity to tell his story to an athletic director was a major boon, but Keatts, 40, had already notched a big win just by earning a seat at that table.
Unlike the case with most networking confabs, attendance at Villa 7 is by invitation only, with maximums set at 50 for mens assistants and 35 for women.
An invitation is a vital sign that he or she has reached an elite level of assistanthood, which is (they hope) the last step before landing a head coaching gig.
More than 100 Villa 7 alumni have since gotten their big breaks, and while many factors go into the selection of a basketball coach, it's not hard to connect the dots.
As Tennessee assistant Jon Harris put it, "The one thing you hear consistently is that they're not going to hire somebody they don't know." It's especially hard to get invited to Villa 7 if you coach at a school like Louisville, which is sponsored by Nike's arch-rival, adidas.