Jan. 26 (UPI) — The University of Louisville parted ways with men’s basketball coach Chris Mack on Wednesday, it was announced.
Cardinals assistant coach Mike Pegues will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
“Coaching transitions are always difficult, especially during the course of the season, but Chris and I agreed that it is in the best interests of our student-athletes that he step aside immediately,” Louisville athletic director Josh Heird said in a statement.
“We will always prioritize our student-athletes and do all that we can to ensure that they have an incredible experience at Louisville. I want to thank Chris and his family for their service to the university and we wish them the very best in their next chapter.”
Mack was hired in 2018 after nine seasons as head coach at Xavier. He guided Louisville to the NCAA Tournament in his first season, then finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in his second year. The Cardinals were a possible Sweet 16 team before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 tournament.
Last season, the Cardinals posted a 13-7 record and missed the NCAA Tournament. Louisville started the season with a 9-1 mark but collapsed over the final two months.
Louisville dropped to 11-9 this season after a road loss to Virginia on Monday — the Cardinals’ fifth loss in the past six games. Overall, Mack went 68-37 over parts of four seasons at Louisville.
“It’s been building. We all want the best for Louisville, and I still do. That’s not going to change,” Mack told reporters. “It’s not really important when or any of that stuff. What’s important is that these guys need to be able to be connected. I’m humble enough where if I’m not the right person — all good, man. Just want the best for them.
“They’re great kids. I loved my team at Louisville. My kids loved it here. I harbor no bitterness.”