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Xavier’s Chris Mack hired as new head coach for Louisville men’s basketball

Hoos will see a new face on the sidelines of their ACC “rival”

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Xavier vs Texas Southern Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After a tumultuous season, the Louisville men’s basketball team finally has a new full-time head coach in Xavier’s Chris Mack. Louisville’s newly promoted athletic director Vince Tyra announced the hire Tuesday after several days of speculation.

Mack just finished his ninth season at the helm of the Musketeers, finishing with a 212-96 (69%) record in his career with Xavier. This past season, Xavier was the No. 1 seed in the West Region after a 29-5 overall record and a 15-3 Big East record. Xavier lost to Florida State in the Sweet Sixteen to end their season.

He will take the place of interim head coach David Padgett who took over when Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino was fired for a litany of built up issues ranging from adultery to strippers for recruits to being named in the recent FBI scandal. Padgett did an admirable job in a tough situation, leading the Cardinals to a 22-14 overall record (9-9 ACC) and the NIT quarterfinals.

Virginia plays the Cardinals as one of their conference “rivals” that the Hoos play twice every season. Since joining the ACC in the 2014-15 season, Louisville is 1-8 against Virginia. The lone win came on a buzzer beater by Mangok Mathiang in Louisville. This past season, the Hoos took down the Cards three times, including in one of the most thrilling games of the season.

All things considered, Mack is a good coach and a formidable foe in the ACC, especially one Tony Bennett and the Hoos will have to face (at least) twice a year. While Mack and Bennett have never squared off as head coaches, Xavier and Wisconsin played in December of 2000 when both coaches were assistants. Bennett’s Badgers triumphed 61-46 in that meeting.

This is the second hire in the ACC reported today as Pitt has been rumored to have a deal with Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel.