Xavier Basketball head coach Chris Mack made school history Wednesday night. Getting the most wins by a men’s basketball coach in school history.
Wednesday night’s 88-82 win over St.John’s Basketball is the 203rd of Mack’s time at Xavier. Surpassing Pete Gillen, Mack’s coach during his playing days. The win is a landmark moment for Mack’s career. Along with being a landmark moment for Xavier’s mens basketball program. For more reasons than just the win itself.
Xavier Basketball is becoming a notable basketball power. That statement shows how far Xavier Basketball has come over the last three decades. That’s mostly due to their Big East Conference membership. Yet, there are other factors including the program’s direction under Mack. He took over a program in healthy shape and has kept it that way.
Mack’s success at Xavier shows another way their program has grown. It’s no longer just a stepping stone for another more prominent coaching job. That was the kind of job it was when Mack took over. Several successful appearances in the NCAA Tournament were helpful. Last season Xavier made it to their second ever Elite Eight appearance.
For a head coach Xavier is becoming a job increasingly worth staying in. So far Mack shows no willingness to leave the job. There is a feeling among Xavier fans that he could basically coach there until he retires. Yet, if Mack does someday leave, whoever takes over will inherit a more prominent program. One with a larger national presence than it had a decade ago.
Of course a coach doesn’t do it all on their own. Xavier’s success is also thanks to its players. Over the years Xavier has recruited well; both before and since Mack became the head coach. This is seen in many current Xavier Musketeers. Including recent transfer Kerem Kanter and freshman Naji Marshall.
With Wednesday’s milestone win in the books; the focus for Mack and Xavier turns to Saturday. As the Musketeers head to New Jersey to face Seton Hall Basketball. A team that will likely make win 204 for Chris Mack difficult to get.