It's that time of year again, where every major coaching move is followed by a blizzard of rumors regarding how it will make the dominoes fall. I thought we were going to duck seeing Xavier involved in it, but then Billy Donovan left Florida and suddenly Coach Mack was being mentioned alongside Archie Miller as the top candidates for the job. While I'm on record as stating that I'm not all that concerned about Coach Mack departing anytime soon, there is a non-zero chance that it happens. With that in mind, the obvious question becomes one of whom you would have replace him.
Steele was promoted to associate head coach recently amid a rumors that he might be headed elsewhere for a top position of his own. He's just 31 years old but has been working in college basketball for his entire adult life, having worked as a grad assistant at OSU and an assistant coach at Indiana before joining the Xavier staff in 2008 and steadily working his way up.
Steele would be a solid choice for a couple of reasons. The continuity factor shouldn't be overlooked; he would step in from the position of being Coach Mack's top man to being in charge himself. He's also an excellent recruiter in Xavier's own back yard, having been the lead man on Jalen Reynolds, Trevon Bluiett, Dee Davis, and a handful of others in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. If Coach Mack left and Steele took the top role, it would give Xavier a solid shot at maintaining recruiting momentum even during a regime change.
Prior to Travis Steele being the best young gun on the Xavier staff, Pat Kelsey was that guy. He took a year off due to being burnt out by the grind of NCAA basketball, but he found his passion again and a place to use it when Winthrop hired him to be their head coach. Kelsey's only 39 and has consistently improved in his three years in Rock Hill. From sitting at 284th in the KenPom rankings at the end of his first year he has taken the program to 159th in 2015. Offense, defense, and tempo have all risen under Kelsey's watch.
Like Steele, Kelsey has Xavier ties, having graduated from the school in '98 and then spent time as an assistant at both Xavier and Wake Forest, working alongside Coach Mack under Skip Prosser at Wake. He was a top recruiter as an assistant, signing Ish Smith, James Johnson, and Al-Farouq Aminu at Wake. He has had trouble landing top recruits at Winthrop, but that (1) is for obvious reasons and (2) makes his coaching job that much more impressive. The dude knows what he's doing in running a program; I wouldn't mind seeing him back at X if Coach Mack moves on.
If you have a chance to gut Dayton, why not do it?
If Coach Mack goes, who would you want to see (realistically) brought in to replace him?