Chris Mack, UofL agree to 7-year deal
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Xavier coach Chris Mack is the University of Louisville's new men's basketball head coach.
Mack and UofL agreed to a contract for $28 million over seven years, WAVE 3 Sports Director Kent Taylor confirmed.
The news comes just days after UofL officials met with Mack over the weekend. He'll become just the third head coach of the Cardinals since Denny Crum took the job in 1971.
Mack reportedly broke the news to his Xavier players Tuesday. He is expected to be in Louisville for the official announcement Wednesday afternoon.
Mack, 48, comes to Louisville from Xavier University, where he led the Musketeers to a 29-6 record, including a Big East regular season championship in the 2017-18 season.
Mack is the winningest coach in the school's history, with a career record of 212-96 in nine seasons with the Musketeers.
He is the only coach to lead XU to the Sweet 16 four times. USA Today's latest salary information listed Mack as the 55th-highest paid coach in the country, with a salary of $1,668,930. But the $4 million annual salary will put him in the top 10. Rick Pitino, UofL's Hall of Fame coach who was fired last year following a pair of embarrassing scandals, was paid more than $5 million a year in base salary.
Despite being a No. 1 seed, Mack's Musketeers were knocked out of the 2018 NCAA Tournament by Florida State in the second round. As a No. 11 seed, Xavier advanced all the way to the Elite Eight just last year.
Mack, a former Xavier team captain who graduated in 1992, takes over a Louisville team previously led by David Padgett during the 2017-18 campaign, which saw much tumult throughout a 22-14 season that ended with a quarterfinal-round loss to Mississippi State in the NIT.
Assistant coach Mike Pegues will be joining Mack in Louisville. No word yet on other assistants.
Xavier has an impressive recent history of basketball coaches moving on to bigger jobs following successful runs at the jesuit university. Pete Gillen parlayed his tenure there into jobs at Providence and Virginia; Skip Prosser left Xavier for Wake Forest in 2001; Thad Matta took the Ohio State job in 2004 -- and even led the Buckeyes to the 2006 national championship game -- and Sean Miller took over at Pac-12 power Arizona in 2009.
Xavier Athletics 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."
UofL spokesman John Karman issued a statement saying the contract isn't confirmed on Tuesday night.
"Reports that the University of Louisville has hired a men's basketball coach are premature. There is no contract. The appropriate boards have not yet met to consider a contract. Nor are the board members aware of any terms in a potential contract."
Mack's wife, Christi, is a Louisville native, and together they have three kids -- Hailee, Lainee and Brayden.
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