CINCINNATI – Xavier stuck to custom and promoted from within to replace coach Chris Mack, hiring top assistant Travis Steele on Saturday as its 18th head coach.
The move came four days after Mack – a former Musketeer player who is the winningest coach in school history – left to coach Louisville.
The 36-year-old Steele has been an assistant at Xavier for 10 seasons, including the last nine under Mack. He’s been an integral part of the program’s development in the Big East.
“As we completed our national search process, it became clear that the best head coach for our program is the person we knew the best,” athletic director Greg Christopher said in a statement.
Steele will be introduced at a news conference next week.
The Musketeers won their first Big East regular-season title this season and were ranked as high as No. 3 in the AP poll, a school record. They also received the first No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed in school history, but lost to Florida State in the second round.
Xavier has reached the Elite Eight three times, including last season, but has yet to make a Final Four.
Former Xavier coach Sean Miller – now at Arizona – hired Steele before the 2008-09 season as director of basketball operations. Mack promoted him to assistant coach when he took over the program in 2009. Steele was promoted to associate head coach in 2015.
Before coming to Xavier, Steele was a video coordinator and assistant coach at Indiana.
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