LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Chris Mack era of the Louisville men's basketball program has officially come to an end.
In a joint meeting Wednesday between the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors for the UofL Athletic Association, a separation agreement was approved between the Cardinals' head coach and the university.
Assistant coach Mike Pegues will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
"I loved my time at Louisville," Mack said, speaking to reporters outside of Louisville's practice facility prior to the official announcement. "My kids love it here, and so I harbor no bitterness. Life's too short."
Mack, who would have been owed a $12 million buyout had he been outright fired, settled for a 4.8 million that will be paid over three years. The separation was framed as a mutual parting of ways by the university.
Louisville is currently in the midst of a disappointing 11-9 campaign (5-5 in the ACC), and has lost five of their last six games, most recently a 64-52 drubbing at Virginia on Monday.
In their most recent home game, Louisville was booed off the court after suffering an 82-70 loss to Notre Dame. When asked in the postgame press conference if the players had tuned out the coaches, forward Malik Williams responded with "I don't have a comment for that," after a long pause.
The university suspended Mack for the first six games of the 2021-22, stemming from his handling of the extortion attempt by former assistant Dino Gaudio. While the university concluded that Mack was indeed a victim of Gaudio's extortion attempt, he "failed to follow University guidelines, policies, and procedures in handling the matter".
Last September, the NCAA amended Louisville's Notice of Allegations from May of 2020 to include additional allegations that arose from Gaudio's extortion attempt, including the use of graduate assistants in practice and impermissible recruiting videos by Mack and his staff.
Mack was hired by Louisville in March of 2018 away from his alma mater of Xavier, where he was the Musketeers' all-time winningest coach.
He led the Cardinals to to a 44-21 record over his first two years at the helm, including achieving a No. 1 ranking during his second season. Louisville made the tournament in 2019, but fell to Minnesota in the first round. They were poised to make a deep run in 2020 before that year's tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Louisville started the 2020-21 season at 9-1, but were struck by a myriad of COVID issues and offensive inconsistencies. The Cardinals finished the year at 13-7, and were designated as the "First Team Out" of the NCAA Tournament.
Mack employed both a coaching staff and roster overhaul over the previous offseason. Assistant coaches Gaudio and Luke Murray were let go, replaced by Kahil Fennell and Ross McMains, and eight newcomers were brought in. Still, that was not enough to prevent Cardinals from seemingly missing out on the tournament for the second consecutive year.
(Photo of Chris Mack: Geoff Burke - USA TODAY Sports
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