All the reporting surrounding the Louisville Cardinals coaching search has indicated that Xavier coach Chris Mack has been their top target since before informing interim coach David Padgett that he would not be given the job on a more permanent basis.
Mack and Louisville were scheduled to meet this weekend and it appears conversations have already advanced rapidly, with Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio reporting that a deal is “close to complete.”
Xavier went 29-6 on the season under Mack, earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament but unfortunately falling to Florida State in the Round of 32. In nine seasons as the head coach at Xavier, Mack took the team to eight NCAA Tournament berths and amassed a 212-96 record to make him the all-time winningest coach at Xavier.
The Musketeers won their league three times, made four Sweet 16 appearances and even advanced to the Elite Eight in 2017.
Mack was a Xavier graduate who had previously spent nine years spread out across two separate stints as a Xavier assistant. However, he was making just $1.7 million per year and Louisville offers an opportunity to take over one of the most prestigious programs in the country.
Despite the fact that their role in the FBI probe into corruption in college basketball casts a massive shadow over the program (and they’re already on probation and just had their 2013 national championship vacated because of a separate scandal), that apparently appeals to Mack.
If a deal in fact gets done, he’ll undoubtedly receive a substantial raise. And it will be worth it for Louisville, who absolutely must ace this hire to successfully navigate choppy waters from the oncoming storm if they’re going to survive and continue to be one of the top programs in college basketball.