Let’s Speculate! Potential Xavier head basketball coach candidates
Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.
Today’s program is Xavier, coached by Travis Steele for the last 4 seasons (fired on March 16).
- Chris Mack – former Xavier, Louisville head coach
- Eight NCAA Tournaments, two A-10 titles, a Big East title and a .689 winning percentage in nine seasons at Xavier, Mack left for Louisville in 2018 and turned the program over to his right-hand man, Steele. Things didn’t work out at UL but he would be welcomed back to his hometown and alma mater with open arms. Mack has to be call number one, and only if he is not interested should Xavier even consider anyone else on this list or otherwise.
- Sean Miller – former Xavier, Arizona head coach
- There’s one other successful, former XU head coach out who recently became available and that is Sean Miller, who won three A-10 titles at Xavier and has been to the NCAA Tournament eleven times between XU and Arizona. What was grounds for firing at Arizona is incredible success elsewhere, so if Sean (53) wants to get back into the game, he will have plenty of suitors.
- Archie Miller – former Dayton, Indiana head coach
- Archie was an assistant at Ohio State and worked under his brother at Arizona before getting the Dayton head coaching job in 2011. He took the Flyers to four NCAA Tournaments, including one Elite Eight, and won two A-10 titles before taking the Indiana job. While that ultimately didn’t work out, Xavier presents a different situation that may be much better suited for both parties.
- Lamont Paris – Chattanooga head coach
- An Ohio-native, former player and coach at Wooster and a long-time D-I assistant at Akron and Wisconsin, Paris hit a new high point as the head coach at Chattanooga this year by sweeping the SoCon regular season and Tournament titles to get Mocs back into the Big Dance. He is 87-70 overall and 65-27 in the last three years alone.
- John Groce – Akron head coach
- A great candidate on paper, but worth noting that Groce is actually Steele‘s brother – which could be awkward for both parties. Groce is a prominent member of the Thad Matta coaching tree who was an assistant for three years at Xavier and four at Ohio State before becoming the head coach at Ohio in 2008. He didn’t do enough at Illinois to win the fanbase over but has been a success at his two head coaching stops within the state of Ohio. The Zips won the 2022 MAC Tournament and are headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly a decade.
- Pat Kelsey – College of Charleston head coach
- He’s only one year into his tenure at C of C after nine years at Winthrop, but Kelsey is a Xavier graduate and Cincinnati-native who was the associate head coach under Chris Mack for three seasons. He went to two NCAA Tournaments (would have been three) at Winthrop and won four Big South titles.
- Jeff Boals – Ohio head coach
- Boals is in a comfortable situation at his alma mater Ohio, going to the NCAA Tournament last year and the CBI this year (after winning 24 games). We’re not sure he would leave right now, but he’s worth a look for Xavier given his regional ties and success as a head coach.