Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
The Xavier Musketeers will reportedly lose the winningest coach in program history, and their loss is the Louisville Cardinals’ gain.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Chris Mack agreed to a seven-year deal worth roughly $4 million per season to become Louisville’s new head coach Tuesday.
The idea Mack would leave Xavier for Louisville following the 2017-18 campaign is not new. Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier Journal reported he scheduled a meeting with Louisville to discuss becoming its head coach after the Cardinals and Musketeers’ seasons ended.
Greer noted “Mack has long been considered the top coach on Louisville’s list” and pointed to the fact the coach’s wife, Christi, went to high school in the Louisville area.
The consistent success he established in his nine seasons at Xavier put him on the Cardinals’ radar.
He led the Musketeers to the NCAA tournament eight times, accumulating a 215-97 record. His teams finished with fewer than 20 wins just once (2012-13), and he captured two Atlantic 10 regular-season championships and a Big East regular-season championship during his tenure.
Mack also found postseason success with three Sweet 16 appearances and one Elite Eight showing at Xavier, although he failed to parlay the first No. 1 seed in school history into anything more than a second-round exit at the hands of Florida State in 2018.
Mack will be looking to do more than just replicate his on-court success from Xavier at Louisville, considering the program has been under the spotlight for the wrong reasons in recent years and could use some positive headlines.
The school fired Rick Pitino in October because of his alleged role in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into corruption and bribery in college basketball. Louisville was also forced to vacate its 2013 national championship as well as every other win from the 2011 through 2015 academic years because ineligible student-athletes played for them.
The NCAA issued a ruling in June 2017 that Pitino did not monitor activities when “a former Louisville director of basketball operations acted unethically when he committed serious violations by arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others.”
Interim coach David Padgett led the Cardinals to a 22-14 record and NIT appearance in 2017-18, which was not good enough to compel the school to keep him as a full-time coach.
Mack will tasked with navigating the aftermath of the scandals at Louisville and once again establishing it as a basketball powerhouse in the ACC.