Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Xavier, Chris Mack mutually commit
By Eamonn Brennan
In the transient world of college basketball coaching, this practically qualifies as "Honey, I love you. Will you marry me?"
On Tuesday, Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski (who hopefully doesn't have to hear references to Soda Popinski all that often) and Xavier coach Chris Mack reached what Bobinski called "the most comprehensive agreement we have ever offered to a head coach at Xavier University." The deal? A seven-year contract extension that will take the second-year coach through the 2017-18 season. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed to the public.
Mack's agreement with Xavier continues the recent trend of coaches at non-BCS programs -- Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart and Chris Mooney, to name this spring's high-profile examples -- spurning large offers from high-major schools in favor of staying at their current gigs.
In Mack's case, the impetus runs even deeper. Mack graduated from Xavier in 1992, and he deeply believes in the school's and basketball program's mission. More than anything, though, Xavier has proven that it can win as consistently as any program in the nation. It boasts high-level facilities, an excellent fan base, the same Nike contract the big boys get, and -- as Tuesday's deal clearly shows -- an extremely strong commitment to basketball success.
That wasn't always true. Xavier has been good for the past two decades, beginning with Pete Gillen in 1985 and continuing through the tenures of Skip Prosser, Thad Matta and Sean Miller, and on through the present day. But those coaches, successful as they have all been, share something in common: They all left. Mack didn't. With seven more years on his deal, he's unlikely to bolt anytime soon.
In other words: Don't ever confuse Xavier with a mid-major, a stopover for promising coaches on their roads to glory. Those days are long gone now. Xavier is committed to basketball and to Chris Mack, and Mack is committed right back. Comprehensive, indeed.