Once again, the Xavier Musketeers found a coach that believes the program is stepping stone job to a much better offer. On Tuesday, head coach Chris Mack agreed to become the next head coach of the Louisville Cardinals.
Mack spent nine seasons as the head man with the Musketeers, leading them to eight NCAA Tournament appearances. The first four years were spent in the Atlantic 10. However, the Musketeers moved to the revamped Big East in 2013. They earned five straight berths into the tournament. Moreover, Mack had the Musketeers ranked in the Top 10 in each of the last three seasons. They also reached new heights, winning the Big East regular season crown in 2018. As a result, the Musketeers earned their first ever No. 1 seed this season. However, the Musketeers squandered a double digit lead in their Round of 32 loss to the Florida State Seminoles.
It’s possible, Mack felt like this is the best things will ever get with the Musketeers. However, greener pastures haven’t always ended with the pot of gold for ex-Xavier coaches. Last season, former head coach Sean Miller felt the wrath of the Musketeers. During Miller’s quest for his first Final Four berth as a head coach, the Musketeers defeated the Arizona Wildcats in the Sweet 16.
For example, Pete Gillen made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament. Seven of those trips came with the Musketeers. Once he left for the Providence Friars in 1994, Skip Prosser took over the Musketeers for seven seasons. Prosser also earned nine NCAA Tournament appearances during his coaching career. The first four appearances came with the Musketeers. He did earn five more tournament berths with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, but never made a Final Four prior to his untimely passing in 2007.
Thad Matta followed Prosser and coached the Musketeers from 2001-04. He began his head coaching career with the Butler Bulldogs for one season and made an NCAA Tournament appearance before arriving. Matta made three trips to the tournament with the Musketeers and led the team to a regional final appearance in 2004. However, he left to lead the Ohio State Buckeyes until his firing after the 2017 season. Matta did make a pair of Final Four appearances in 2007 and 2012. Yet, he has not won a national championship.
Now, Mack is attempting to do what his predecessors were unable to accomplish. Well, he already did that with the No. 1 seed. However, Mack needs to win a national title with the Cardinals for this move to be validated. Remember, Mack was on the roster as a college student with the Musketeers.
Even though the Cardinals have been in trouble with the NCAA, Mack found this job to be desirable. Most likely it was due to his contract length. He will reportedly receive a seven-year deal worth $4 million per year. Overall, Mack is (215-97) as a head coach.