With the hiring of Travis Steele as Xavier University’s 18th Head Coach in program history - a nagging question subsequently lingering from the departure of Chris Mack begs to be asked: does Xavier basketball ever get a coaching “lifer”? You know, the kind of coach who sees his current job as the “end all be all”; the place where they end their career indefinitely (side note: apparently Mack thought Louisville was a better place to do this - excuse my bitterness).
I’m talking about guys like Jay Wright, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, etc. These particular coaches, with many, many successful years under their belts at this point, will finish their careers at their respective universities and that’s just all there is to it. They clearly see their jobs as the best place to be to compete and win championships.
I get it, the guys I just rattled off work at Villanova, Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Syracuse - perennial powerhouses (historically) in the landscape of college basketball. I also get that currently, there is more prestige and notoriety sustained within those programs than at Xavier. But - are we heading in that direction? Certainly I think we have been and I’m more than confident that we will keep moving that way (shout-out Travis Steele).
Facts: We play in a power 5 conference (which we were regular season champions of this year). We’ve been in the top-25 in AP Poll rankings consistently over the last 3 seasons (I’m sure this may seem insignificant to some of you, but national notoriety is important). We have reached the NCAA tournament 7 times since 2010, AND made the Sweet 16 (regional semi-final) 3 of those 7 times.
So then I get back to my original point, if our program continues to excel and succeed like it has in the past, does this ever become a place where a coach stays ‘for life’? Do we ever stop being a “stepping stone” on the pursuit of the next best coaching position? Will any coach ever see Xavier as a destination - a legitimate place to build and finish a career? Only time will tell.