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Chris Mack agrees to deal to become Louisville’s head coach

Creighton v Xavier

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 16: Chris Mack the head coach of the Xavier Musketeers gives instructions to his team against the Creighton Blue Jays during the game at Cintas Center on January 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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The worst kept secret in college basketball is no longer a secret: Xavier head coach Chris Mack will be the next head coach at Louisville.

According to ESPN, the deal is worth $4 million per year over the next seven years.

Mack will be replacing David Padgett, who was hired as interim head coach after Rick Pitino was fired back in September over the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball.

Mack has long been one of the hot names on the coaching circuit, and his named has popped up in the other coaching searches, but this was the first time that there appeared to be any danger of him leaving. Louisville is considered to be one of the six to ten best coaching jobs in the sport, between the budget, the salary, the pedigree of the program, the conference that it plays in.

In nine seasons as the head coach of the Musketeers, Mack won a school-record 212 games and eight of the nine years that he was in charge. He took the Musketeers to the Elite Eight last season as a No. 11-seed and had a wildly successful 2018 campaign, winning the outright Big East regular season title before losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament. That was the first time in five years that a team not named Villanova had won the Big East since the new conference was created.

Travis Steele, like Mack and Sean Miller before him, is considered the front runner to be promoted to replace Mack. Xavier has become a breeding ground for elite head coaches, and Steele has been the associate head coach for the Musketeers since 2015. Keep this in mind: Since 1979 Xavier has hired six new head coaches, and combined, their Division I win total as head coaches before being hired by Xavier is 41. Thad Matta won 24 games with Butler in his one season as a head coach before going to Xavier while Skip Prosser was the head coach at Loyola (MD) and won 17 games in the one year between leaving his post as an assistant with Xavier to becoming their head coach in 1995.