LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville men's basketball program is now looking for a new head coach.
Chris Mack confirmed Wednesday that he had entered a separation agreement with the university, ending his tenure with the Cardinals. The separation is expected to become official in a joint meeting between the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors for the UofL Athletic Association on Wednesday afternoon.
"I loved my time at Louisville," briefly speaking to reporters outside the Cardinals' practice facility. "My kids love it here, and so I harbor no bitterness. Life's too short. I know in 2022 everybody wants to be a victim, but I never lived my life that way. At all."
Louisville is currently in the midst of a disappointing 11-9 campaign and 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.
"It's been building," Mack said when he was asked when talks surrounding the separation started. "Obviously, we all want the best, and still do. That's that's not going to change. ... What's important is that these guys need to be able to be connected, and I'm humble enough that if I'm not the right person, it's all good, man. I just want the best for them."
Assistant coach Mike Pegues will assume interim duties for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, and a national coaching search is sure to start soon. Pegues served as Louisville's acting head coach for the first six games of the season while Mack was suspended, leading the Cardinals to a 5-1 record.
"Mike's awesome. I love Mike," Mack said. "I coached with him for 10 years, and he is he is a special person. He'll connect, and he deserves an opportunity like this. I think he'll do a tremendous job, just like I thought he would do a tremendous job when I was out."
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. 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's suspension to start the current season arose from his handling of the extortion attempt by former assistant Dino Gaudio. 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.
As for what the future holds, Mack is unsure. He didn't even want to speculate if he deserved more time as the head coach. But before leaving towards an unknown future, Mack had one last message to convey to the Louisville fanbase.
"I love them. They want to win. Shit, I do, too," he said. "Like I said man, I ain't bitter at all. I got my family, got a great life."
(Photo of Chris Mack: Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports)
You can follow Louisville Report for future coverage by liking us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:
You can also follow Deputy Editor Matthew McGavic at @Matt_McGavic on Twitter