Xavier's Chris Mack signs 7-year deal with Louisville

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Xavier University men's head basketball coach is leaving the Musketeers for the University of Louisville.

Chris Mack signed a seven-year contract with the Cardinals, he confirmed Tuesday. The deal comes after a week of rumors about Mack's future with XU.

Mack, 48, broke the news to his Xavier players Tuesday. He is expected to be in Louisville for the official announcement Wednesday afternoon.

The XU alum called this past week "one of the toughest of my life."

"No other opportunity has ever felt "right," until now," he wrote in a letter to Xavier Nation. "Ultimately, I felt like this situation offered a new and unique challenge that I could not turn down."

Mack and UofL reportedly agreed to a $28 million deal over his seven-year contract.

Xavier Assistant Coach Mike Pegues will join Mack's staff in Louisville, sources confirm.

The reigning Big East Coach of the Year will become the third head coach of the Cardinals since Denny Crum took the job in 1971.

Mack, a Cincinnati native and 1992 Xavier University graduate, was a two-time team captain as a player at Xavier.

He has been the men's head basketball coach for nine seasons and is the winningest coach in school history.

This past season, he led the Musketeers to their first outright conference championship and was named Big East coach of the year.

Mack was also selected as the 2010-11 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year. After the 2015-16 season, he was named national coach of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, Basketball Times, and CBS Sports.

The coach has previously drawn interest from University of Tennessee, Indiana University, Ohio State and University of California.

Mack, a former Xavier player, takes over a Louisville team previously led by David Padgett during the 2017-18 season, which saw much tumult externally, and a 22-14 record.

The Cardinals were not invited to the NCAA Tournament, and finished in the quarterfinals of the NIT, with a blowout loss to Mississippi State.

Greg Christopher, Xavier University Director of Athletics, released this statement about XU's future without Mack:

"I want to thank Chris Mack for his exceptional work with the Xavier basketball program over the last 14 years, including the last nine years as our head coach. We wish Chris the best of luck as he attacks a new challenge. But make no mistake that we are excited about the current state and the future trajectory of the Xavier basketball program. Cintas Center gives us one of the nation's best on-campus facilities for our student-athletes and fan experience. Our passionate fan base has been filling our arena and setting attendance records both at home and on the road. The BIG EAST Conference has established itself as one of the nation's elite conferences and we are proud to call ourselves the 2018 BIG EAST Champions. Yes, there is disappointment today as we say goodbye to a coach and a friend but the level of excitement about our future is at a high level. We will conduct a national search to find our new men's basketball head coach."

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