Coaching search profile: Chris Mack

  • 03/21/2017 9:38 am in

After nine seasons in Bloomington, Tom Crean is out as Indiana’s head coach and the search for his replacement is underway.

Inside the Hall will profile some of the candidates who are being discussed for the job over the coming days. Our fifth profile takes a closer look at Xavier coach Chris Mack.

Born in Cleveland and a graduate of Xavier in 1992, Mack does not have any direct ties to IU basketball, so no “double check plus” there.

Before transferring to Xavier to graduate, Mack spent two years as a student-athlete for the University of Evansville. So technically, he has spent time in the Hoosier state.

Mack’s coaching career began at the high school ranks in 1993, but he quickly worked his way up.

In 1999, Mack was hired as director of basketball operations for Xavier, where he worked alongside Skip Prosser. When Prosser left to move on to coach Wake Forest in 2001, Mack followed, this time in the role of assistant coach.

Over five seasons with Prosser, Mack was a part of a program that won 20 games every season and made the tournament four times, including a trip to the Sweet 16 with Wake Forest in 2003-04.

Prosser’s teams were known for high-octane offense, and in his final year with Mack, the Demon Deacons had the most efficient offense in the country (117.9 adjusted efficiency for the 2003-04, per KenPom).

On Dec. 2nd, 2003 of that season, Wake Forest never trailed in a 100-67 thrashing of Indiana in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons shot 51 percent from the floor and scored 38 points off 22 IU turnovers. Chris Paul, who Indiana coach Mike Davis said was one of the best point guards he’d seen while at IU, scored 20 points, eight assists and had five steals. It was, at the time, the largest margin-of-victory in the history of the Big Ten-ACC challenge.

Other than Paul, notable players under Mack from 1999-2004 include David West, Josh Howard and Darius Songaila .

Mack returned to Xavier in 2004 to become an assistant for Sean Miller. When Miller left Xavier for Arizona after the 2008-09 season, Mack was promoted to head coach.

In his first season at the helm, Mack took a team led by Jordan Crawford (who transferred from Indiana) to an Atlantic-10 regular season title, a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and a trip to the Sweet 16. The team had no returning double-figure scorers and just one senior, but Mack finished the season with more wins in his debut season at Xavier than any coach not named Thad Matta.

Nearing the end of his eighth season as the head man at Xavier, Mack’s resume is very good. He’s taken the Musketeers to the NCAA Tournament seven times, including four trips to the Sweet 16.

On the downside, Mack is winless in the Sweet 16 and his players haven’t been able to stay completely out of trouble.

Final Analysis: Mack has been around the game of basketball his entire life. Under the tutelage of some of the greatest offensive minds in the game, Mack has become a respected figure himself.

It isn’t known whether Mack is interested in the opening at Indiana, but his name has been floated nationally as one the Hoosiers could be interested in.

Filed to:

  • Knowledge.

  • JetpackJunky

    How much knowledge about a player being recruited should be an expectation? To what degree should coaches be able to avoid responsibility through not going the extra mile to obtain necessary knowledge?

  • That’s a tough question to answer, and note that this is precisely my question about Mack. I think there’s some vetting that should be done with a player, but I can’t say what’s reasonable. Certainly, if a kid has a known history of trouble, then that should preclude his recruitment. But otherwise, it might not be possible for a coach to know beforehand.

    So, it comes down to how issues are handled after the fact. I’m getting an impression that maybe this issue at Xavier wasn’t handled 100% appropriately, and it gives me pause.

  • marcusgresham

    Ask pre-Kentucky John Calipari 😉

  • marcusgresham

    Of course, if you take Michigan’s 7 home football games times the 107,000 seats in the Big House you end up with 8,149,000 in attendance, which generates a lot more money than taking 15 home games for IU basketball times the 17,000 that the Hall holds to end up with 255,000. That makes it a lot easier to come up with a spare million or two.

  • marcusgresham

    That jackwad Boeheim won’t even leave Syracuse to play a game until the ACC makes him!

  • enickman

    That’s the way to do it! I likeee!

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    I didn’t want to lead anyone, because I just want to give out some facts about each candidate, but I thought the exact same thing, Moye. To me, it appears that he adjusts his strategy based on his team’s strengths and weaknesses. That is very appealing to me.

  • Outoftheloop

    No, I just don’t like Xavier!

  • dwdkc

    It was Mack. Cronin was a standup guy; really ripped his team for their part in it. I’d like to know more about this if he’s a serious candidate, and the player problems.