Chris Mack: Xavier Will Always Be Home To Me; Louisville Wants To Do The Right Thing

"My job isn’t to reflect on the past so much as look forward to the future," Mack said

Tiki and Tierney
March 30, 2018 - 6:05 pm

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After serving nine years as head coach at Xavier, Chris Mack decided it was time to move on.

That decision, though, wasn’t easy.

“Very tough,” the new Louisville coach said on Tiki and Tierney. “I put a lot of heart and soul not only as a coach into that program, but also as a player. Xavier is always going to be home to me. It’s always going to have a huge place in my heart, and it was a very difficult situation.”

Mack leaves Xavier as the all-time leader in wins (215) and tournament wins (11). He led the program to the NCAA Tournament eight times in nine years, advancing to four Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight.

“The timing felt right,” Mack said of his decision to leave. “I was really energized abut the opportunity that we had at Louisville. The ACC is, to me, the premier league in all of college basketball. I think a lot’s been made of my wife being from Louisville, but she hasn’t lived there in 25 years. So for me, it was more about this is the footprint that we’ve been recruiting in at Xavier for the last 15 years. I can’t tell you the number of recruiting battles over the years that we’ve lost to the University of Louisville.”

Mack won’t have to worry about that anymore.

“We’ve always recruited the same type of player, the same high schools, the same AAU programs, and that gave me a very comforting feeling knowing that moving forward, I’m in the area that I’ve been in for a long time,” Mack said. “Louisville fans, they love their basketball. I’m really excited about the opportunity ahead.”

Still, Mack knows the transition will not be without challenges. The competition on the court will be fierce, and moving on from the stain of the previous regime, well, that won’t be easy, either.

“I think it’s going to be difficult,” Mack said. “But I think every day that goes forward, we’re going to try to do positive things both within the program and the community that tell people the story of what we want Louisville basketball to be about. I wouldn’t have taken the job if I thought it was an impossibility. Louisville showed by firing the former president, by letting go of the former athletic director and Coach Pitino and two assistant coaches that they want to be about positive things moving forward. That doesn’t mean that those gentlemen didn’t do great things for the University of Louisville, but obviously some things happened that I think they probably would have chosen to do differently. But again, my job isn’t to reflect on the past so much as look forward to the future.”