CINCINNATI - Xavier University is hoping to fend off another raid on its men's basketball coach by giving Chris Mack a two-year extension as part of a new agreement announced Monday.
Mack, 44, reportedly was targeted by Wake Forest and Cal for their coaching openings last month. The new deal extends Mack's contract through the 2019-20 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Through all of its NCAA Tournament success since the 1980s, Xavier has not been able to keep other schools from raiding its head coaches.
Over the past three decades, five coaches have left Xavier for bigger schools or bigger conferences, including Bob Staak (Wake Forest), Pete Gillen (Providence), Skip Prosser (Wake Forest), Thad Matta (Ohio State) and Sean Miller (Arizona).
Mack may be harder to steal than the others because he is a Cincinnati native and a Xavier grad. Pius, he is bringing in the highest ranked recruiting class in Xavier history,
"We have lofty goals for our basketball program," said Mack. “Xavier is a special place and the support from the entire Xavier community is overwhelming. Xavier and the city of Cincinnati are home to me. As both an alum and the head coach, I am excited about the challenges ahead.
"Between our returning players and the new recruiting class, the coming years at Xavier will be special."
Mack lost his two top scorers when guard Semaj Christon gave up his last two years to enter the NBA and forward Justin Martin decided to transfer for his final season.
But his incoming class is ranked in the top 10 by most of the major recruiting services, including No. 4 by ESPN.com and No. 9 by Scout.com, according to the university's athletic department.
The star-studded class includes:
> 6-6 small forward Trevon Bluiett from Indianapolis (Ind.) Park Tudor School
> 6-9 power forward Makinde London from Montverde (Fla.) Academy
> 6-5 guard J.P. Macura from Lakeville (Minn.) North High School
> 6-9 center Sean O’Mara from Lisle (Ill.) Benet Academy
> 6-4 guard Edmond Sumner from Detroit Country Day School.
"Chris and our coaches share the vision we all have to win a Big East Championship and reach the Final Four," said athletic director Greg Christopher. "This new agreement came from our year-end conversations and touches the entire program."
Mack has led Xavier to the NCAA Tournament in four of his five seasons, including the Sweet 16 in 2010 and 2012.
Xavier finished 21-13 last season, losing to North Carolina State in a play-in game for the NCAA field of 64.
The 1992 Xavier graduate has a 111-57 mark.
“It’s clear that our men’s basketball program is pointed in the right direction,” Christopher said. "Whether it’s coaching, recruiting or how he runs and represents the program, Chris does a terrific job and is the perfect fit for Xavier."