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This was originally published in The Athletic.
Chris Mack announced that he is leaving Xavier University Tuesday night, a blow for Musketeer fans that was softened by the inevitability of it.
Let’s face it, Mack’s entire final season at XU has played out against the backdrop of the very real probability that when Xavier’s season ended, the University of Louisville, armed with a heavy war chest, would come calling.
That the news of Mack leaving is less jarring doesn’t make it any less sobering. Even if Mack’s successor (I say it should be Travis Steele) keeps the good times going, it’s unlikely that the story authored by Mack during his time at XU will ever be repeated.
Mack wasn’t just some mercenary who came in, pretended like he was going to set down roots, and coached the Musketeers. Instead, he was as Xavier and as Cincinnati as they come. He drove through Skyline. He went to Bengals games. And he took a basketball program that had long been a success and helped to make it even better.
That, among other reasons, is why Xavier’s basketball program is about to take a step backward.
To read my entire piece, go to The Athletic.