Chris Mack is leaving Xavier to become the head coach of Louisville's men's basketball team, he announced on Twitter. The deal for seven years is reportedly worth about $4 million per season, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman
Mack issued the following statement on Twitter:
"Xavier Nation, The past week has been one of the toughest of my life. For over 18 years I called Victory Parkway home. From the day I walked on campus as a student-athlete in 1990 – to returning as an assistant coach in 2004 – to that life-changing moment when I was named your head coach in 2009 ... THIS PLACE has always had my heart. That feeling has made it so easy for me and my family to let opportunities outside of Xavier come and go. No other opportunity has ever felt ‘right,’ until now. Ultimately, I felt like this situation offered a new and unique challenge that I could not turn down. I love Xavier. I will miss my players, the students, the administration and everyone associated with my alma mater. Thanks to Father Graham, Greg Christopher and the entire Xavier community for believing in me in good times and bad. Like every former player from X, I will be cheering for the Muskies every chance I get, especially on that night once a year we beat those guys from Clifton. Thanks for everything. Coach Mack."
Mack, a former Xavier player, is coming off a season in which he led the Musketeers to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament but only made it as far as the Round of 32 before losing to Florida State. Xavier finished the season 29–6 while capturing the Big East regular season title.
Mack was named the head coach at Xavier in 2009 and spent time with the team in the Atlantic 10 and Big East Conference. He has made the NCAA tournament eight times and made it as far as the Elite Eight in 2016-17. He finishes his time at Xavier with a 212–96 record.
Xavier athletic director Greg Christopher issued the following statement:
"I want to thank Chris Mack for his exceptional work with the Xavier basketball program over the last 14 years, including the last nine years as our head coach. We wish Chris the best of luck as he attacks a new challenge. But make no mistake that we are excited about the current state and the future trajectory of the Xavier basketball program. Cintas Center gives us one of the nation’s best on-campus facilities for our student-athletes and fan experience. Our passionate fan base has been filling our arena and setting attendance records both at home and on the road. The BIG EAST Conference has established itself as one of the nation’s elite conferences and we are proud to call ourselves the 2018 BIG EAST Champions. Yes, there is disappointment today as we say goodbye to a coach and a friend but the level of excitement about our future is at a high level. We will conduct a national search to find our new men’s basketball head coach.” “We met with our current student-athletes and understandably it is a very emotional time for them. I have assured them that we will find the best person to continue the progress of our program. My door is open to them. Our first priority is to these young men and using the support staff that we have to help them in the transition. I will reach out to the incoming class as well.”
Mack replaces David Padgett, who was the interim head coach after Rick Pitino was fired following an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption. The investigation included allegations of a $100,000 payment by Louisville to the family of Brian Bowen to sign with the Cardinals. Louisville finished last season 22–14 with a 9–9 record in the ACC.