Chris Mack Leaves For Louisville, What Now for XU?
By: Craig James
Well, it’s official. Chris Mack accepted the head coaching job at the University of Louisville. A sad day indeed for Xavier Nation. Mack took the program to places it has never been. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m legit sad right now. As we all know Xavier has had great coaches come and go. Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser, Thad Matta, Sean Miller, and now Chris Mack. This one feels different though. Mack is a Xavier guy. From Cincinnati. Played at Xavier. Was a captain at Xavier. Assistant coach at Xavier. Then became head coach and the winningest coach in X history. Mack has the most wins, NCAA tournament wins, and highest ranking in school history. So this one stings a bit more. Louisville has money that Xavier can’t come close to. That coupled with Mack’s wife being from Louisville, it is no surprise Mack is moving on. Wish him nothing but the best at U of L.
It has been announced so far that Mack is taking some of his staff with him to Louisville. Assistants Luke Murray and Mike Pegues are headed down I-71 S as well. Which also means we won’t see Bill Murray at the Cintas Center anymore. Sad.
Xavier has made it look pretty easy in the past when hiring new coaches. They have gotten each hire right and each coach has left the program a better place than when they took it over. The next head coach of Xavier Basketball will have the biggest shoes to fill yet. AD Greg Christopher announced Xavier will conduct a national search for their next head coach… He shouldn’t have to look any further than the man who sat next to Chris Mack through all those wins. Travis Steele. For conversation sake, let’s dive into three candidates Xavier should be targeting.
1 Travis Steele
First on the list for Xavier. Steele has been on Xavier’s coaching staff for 9 years. He’s paid his dues as an assistant and it is his time to take over the program. Anytime there is a coaching change you want to keep the current team and recruits happy and together. You look at the reports coming out, all the current players want Steele to take over the program. Steele was the main recruiter for Quentin Goodin and Paul Scruggs, but it seems as the rest of the team loves Steele as well. It would be shocking if Xavier didn’t hire Travis Steele.
2 Pat Kelsey
Kelsey is currently the head coach at Winthrop. Kelsey is from Cincinnati. He played at Xavier. He was an assistant coach at Xavier. Kelsey began his coaching career at Elder High School. If any call is made for this job outside of Travis Steele, it will be Kelsey’s phone that is ringing.
3 Sister Jean
She is currently the team chaplain for the Loyola-Chicago Basketball team and has carried them all the way to the Final Four, a place where Xavier has never been. Sister Jean is Jesuit, Xavier is a Jesuit school. Just connecting some dots here, we may be onto something. Sister Jean’s philosophy on the offensive end is what sets her apart. She runs the best three man weave in college basketball featuring the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. She’s a winner and has more Final Four appearances than X.
All jokes aside it would be pretty shocking if Travis Steele was not named the next head coach of Xavier. Xavier has already lost incoming grad transfer Evan Boudreaux. He was a beast at Dartmouth and was most likely going to be a starter for Xavier next season. More highly regarded than Kerem Kanter coming into X and we all saw how good Kanter was this year. Boudreaux is the first player to re-open his recruitment, hopefully he’s the only one.
The next Xavier coach will have pressure on him like no new coach at Xavier has had before. He’s following in the footsteps of the winningest coach in school history. Travis Steele looks like the man for the job and will hopefully be the first coach in school history to lead the Musketeers to the Final Four.