Here we go again. Every time there is “premier” job opening, Chris Mack’s name comes up. In one sense, it is flattering. Xavier’s head coach is unquestionably one of the best in the nation. Injuries and whatever that was with Myles Davis gutted his squad last year, but he adamantly refused to change the expectations for the season and the Musketeers landed in the Elite Eight. Throw in to notch recruiting efforts and you have a coach that 95% of college basketball programs would can their current guy to get.
Which brings us handily to Ohio State, who just canned their current guy. The Buckeyes made the move with all the class and restraint they are known for, forcing Matta to wait two months after the end of the season and then dropping a humiliation cherry on top of of his job loss sundae by making him sit at the dais through the press conference announcing his firing. That leaves Ohio State without a coach and with a stated aim of going back to the Final Four.
If there is any school in Ohio that can claim to have a better program than Xavier recently, it’s OSU. They’ve been in the Final Four as recently as 2012 and twice in the last decade. While there’s no question that Xavier has been better in the most recent season, the Buckeyes are still, galling as it is to say, the top program in the state. They would do well to try to land Chris Mack, whatever the cost. Anywhere you look, you are going to see Mack’s name pop up on the list.
And this is to be expected, indeed it happens almost every year. Coach Mack is going to Wake, Coach Mack is going to Florida, Coach Mack is going just about anywhere. This year, for all the same reasons as those years, it’s not likely to happen. A program would have to absolutely break the bank to land Chris Mack. Exactly what Mack makes isn’t known, but it is accepted that it is a great deal. A program would have to persuade him to leave Cincinnati, where he was raised and is raising his kids, to move. Even just up to Columbus, a great city, is a long way when the place you are leaving is home. Finally, a program would have to offer a better opportunity. Right now, ensconced in the Big East, with another top 10 recruiting class coming in, and fresh off a trip to the Elite Eight, is there a better place to be than Xavier?
If there is, Ohio State isn’t it.