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Chris Mack leaves UofL basketball after four seasons

Chris Mack scratches head after Cards suffer third straight loss
Chris Mack scratches head after Cards suffer third straight loss(Associated Press)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 8:38 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2022 at 5:05 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - University of Louisville head men’s basketball coach Chris Mack will be leaving mid-season in a negotiated settlement that brings his four-year tenure at UofL to an end, WAVE Sports has learned.

Mack confirmed the departure with WAVE Sports on Wednesday afternoon ahead of a meeting with the UofL Board of Trustees and Athletic Association Board.

“I don’t think there was like one thing that triggered anything,” Mack said. “You know, you’re playing your season, you know, games accumulating. It kept getting harder, and obviously we weren’t winning to the level that we want to win at.”

Mack and the University of Louisville Athletic Association officially signed a separation agreement following the meeting, terminating Mack’s employment with the university in a $4.8 million buyout.

Had Mack been fired without cause, the payout would have been $12.75 million. Instead, the former coach and the university decided to part ways with 10 games left in the regular season.

Mack will now be paid around $133 thousand a month until the end of January 2025.

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Mack confirmed he was leaving with WAVE Sports before a UofL Board of Trustees and Athletic Association Board meeting to discuss a negotiated settlement.

“Coaching transitions are always difficult, especially during the course of the season, but Chris and I agreed that it is in the best interests of our student-athletes that he step aside immediately,” University of Louisville interim Athletic Director Josh Heird said. “We will always prioritize our student-athletes and do all that we can to ensure that they have an incredible experience at Louisville. I want to thank Chris and his family for their service to the University and we wish them the very best in their next chapter.”

The former UofL coach wrote up a final letter to Cards fans on Wednesday night, thanking them for their support.

“Any of us who is given the opportunity to represent this great university knows that we are only in this position because of the passion, support and pride of Cardinal Nation, and I know that the University of Louisville basketball program’s best days remain ahead of it,” Mack said.

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Mack’s team was 11-9 and has lost five of its last six games. Four of the last five games have resulted in double-digit losses, the first such stretch since 1940.

The Cards are 63-36 in Mack’s four seasons on the bench.

After the Cards blew a seven-point halftime lead and lost 82-70 to Notre Dame on Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center, the tide seemed to turn on Mack’s thought process. In the 22,000-seat arena, the announced attendance was 16,175 people.

Following the Irish defeat, three-time captain Malik Williams was asked if the players had tuned out the coaching staff. “I don’t have a comment for that,” he said after a few seconds of thought.

On Monday night, the team responded by falling behind 27-8 at Virginia. They fought back to get within four points, 45-41, on a Williams jumper, but lost 64-52.

Mack was asked about Williams’ Saturday remark after the game on Monday night.

“You know, Malik was asked a tough question the other day, wasn’t really sure how to respond,” Mack said. “You know, he obviously thinks our team should be better, as do I. We were the same team that was up seven at Notre Dame, same team despite a bad deficit, that you can’t give on the road, we’re the same team that rallied and responded and didn’t quit, so I think that’s a little bit overblown, but at the same time, the result is the result and we’re not here to do anything but try to win games and we haven’t gotten the job done here as of late.”

The comments, along with the cancellation for Mack’s radio show on Tuesday night, brought his coaching future with the university in question.

The coach was suspended for the first six games of the 2021-22 season after potential NCAA violations were discovered following the recording of former assistant coach Dino Gaudio’s termination. After pleading guilty to attempting to extort Mack, Gaudio was sentenced to one year of probation and a $10,000 fine.

The NCAA classified the violations as Level II, and they were included in the ongoing investigation into the FBI probe that resulted in the firing of former University of Louisville head men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino. That case, which was brought to light in September of 2017, is still unresolved.

Mack’s agreement requires him to continue cooperation with the university in connection with any current or future litigation by the NCAA.

Assistant men’s basketball coach Mike Pegues, who took over for Mack during his six-game suspension and led the Cards to a 5-1 record, will take over for the rest of the Cards’ season.

UofL (11-9, 5-5 ACC) hosts #9 Duke (15-3, 5-2) on Saturday at 12 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center.

WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram...
WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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