This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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Gophers coaching search: What about Chris Mack?

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches Updated: March 28, 2013 - 12:29 PM

When it comes to the Minnesota coaching search, there have been some big names thrown out there and some small ones.

The administration, understandably, has gone deep cover and gotten very tight-lipped. That’s not surprising considering it has been made clear through other sources that something is happening imminently.

But one of the things that makes this coaching search special is the understanding, by those familiar with Norwood Teague and Mike Ellis, that this administration is beloved by coaches across the nation and so well-networked among such coaches, that a hire outsiders don’t think is possible, well, could be.

I do think that Teague and Ellis are capable of landing a “surprise” – a candidate that many think is not attainable.

In light of that sentiment, there is one candidate in particular I have been thinking about: Chris Mack.

I have mentioned Mack here and there along the search and added him in my list of candidates yesterday. But the more I think about him, the better fit and more likely choice I feel he could be.

In the most obvious of ways, Mack doesn’t seem likely to leave Xavier, where he currently is the head coach.

After all, Mack is from Ohio, and his wife, Christie, went to school at Dayton. His network and support group runs deep there. And by all accounts, he is happy there. It would have to be a special offer for him to leave.

That said, there are some other intriguing pieces.

  • For starters, Mack is a Villa 7 guy -- essentially Teague and Ellis helped him get his first head coaching job and the relationship is there. I cannot state how much I have heard people connected with those two talk about how much coaches love to work with them.
  • There is a lot of change with Xavier right now – going to a new conference, operating under a new AD. Would it be as good a time as any for Mack to leave?

Unlike a guy like Alabama coach Anthony Grant, Mack is well-versed in the Midwest, and his recruiting efforts wouldn’t have to start from ground zero.

Xavier is Mack’s first head coaching job (he was hired in 2009), and so a move up to a Big Ten job could be intriguing.


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