Promises dropped, signs point toward the end of Chris Mack era at Louisville

Less than four full years into his tenure at the university, it seems as though Chris Mack and Louisville are on the verge of parting ways. Nothing is official yet, though. For now, Mack remains the head coach, although that could change, soon.

There have been some good moments for the Cards this season; however, things clearly weren’t trending upward for the program and Mack. Following the loss to Notre Dame over the weekend, it became apparent that Mack had — at least — lost a portion of the locker room.

When Louisville returned to the floor Monday night, Mack’s team was smoked at Virginia, losing 64-52. Louisville is now 11-9 (5-5 ACC) on the season; the Cards have lost five of their last six games.

Less than 24 hours after that loss, Louisville has called a joint meeting for Wednesday. The meeting will address “pending litigation and personnel matters.” Mack’s weekly radio show, which was set to record today (Jan. 25), has been canceled, too.

After the Notre Dame game, center Malik Williams — a fifth-year senior and one of the team’s captains — was asked by the media if he thought the team was tuning out the coaching staff. A visibly-frustrated Williams waited nearly 10 seconds before responding: “I don’t have a comment for that.”

While serving a suspension, Mack missed the first six games of 2021-22 season. Mack was suspended (without pay) by the university for a failure to follow university guidelines in dealing with the extortion attempt of former assistant coach Dino Gaudio.

Mack arrived to the program in the spring of 2018 — following a successful, decade-long run at Xavier. The former Wake Forest assistant took over the program following the 2017-18 season, which was led by interim head coach David Padgett. Former Louisville AD Vince Tyra made the hire.

At the time, Mack’s arrival was hailed as a positive turning point for the program. The hope was obvious: after the fallout of the Rick Pitino era, Louisville wanted a fresh start. The also wanted to win a lot of basketball games.

Unfortunately, neither really happened. That lack of stability added uncertainty to an athletic department that creates plenty of its own chaos.

During his tenure at Louisville, Mack won 64.8 percent of his games: 68-37. If this is the end for Mack, then the high-water mark was the 2019-20 season. That year, Louisville went 24-7 and spent one week ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 Poll.

However, with the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament — due to the COVID-19 pandemic — Mack took only one Louisville team to the NCAA Tournament (2019). Mack hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2018 — his final season with Xavier.


Update: 6:35 p.m., est

According to Seth Davis of The Athletic, Chris Mack and UofL are in the process of finalizing a separation agreement.

Assuming this does in fact go through, some big names will pop to the top of the list, including Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, Will Wade of LSU and Alabama’s Nate Oats. It may be tough to unearth one of those hefty SEC names; however, it’s worth a shot.

Associate head coach Mike Pegues, who filled in for Mack while he was on suspension, would likely resume interim coaching duties. Pegues, if interested, would also deserve an opportunity to apply for the job.


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