Louisville and head men’s basketball coach Chris Mack reached a “separation agreement” on Wednesday, effective immediately, the school announced. Mack was hired in 2018 after nine years as head coach at alma mater Xavier, just short drive away in Cincinnati. He went 68-37 in three and a half seasons with the Cardinals and reached one NCAA Tournament, a first-round exit in 2019.
“To wake up every day these last four years as the head coach of the University of Louisville has been an opportunity that I will cherish,” Mack said in a statement. “It is with that sense of appreciation that I have made the decision to no longer be [the] coach.”
Mack’s tenure has been a roller coaster: oscillating between decent and bad on the court but especially wild off of it, with secret recordings, extortion charges from a former assistant and an official notice of NCAA allegations among the many distractions these past few years have brought. On top of that, UL is currently operating with an interim athletic director and an interim president, with those previously in both roles leaving for other institutions in 2021.
The seven-year deal Mack signed in 2018 ran through the 2024-25 season and carried with it a $12 million buyout if he was fired without cause during or after this current season. Because of the aforementioned rockiness, there was a possibility that UL could attempt to fire Mack with cause but the ensuing legal battles were not likely to great (or cheap) for either party. Instead, the two sides agreed on a $4.8M buyout that allows Mack to “resign” and the University to move on immediately.
Leading the Cards for the rest of this season will be assistant coach Mike Pegues, who has been at UL since 2018 and was on Mack’s staff at Xavier for six years before that.
UPDATE 1/27: The Louisville job is still considered one of the best in college basketball, so there will be no shortage of interest from across the country. Here are some names we expect to be in the mix: Let’s Speculate! Potential Louisville Head Coach Candidates
credit to ESPN.com for the photo