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Charleston hires ex-Louisville coach Chris Mack to take over for new Cardinals coach Pat Kelsey

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — College of Charleston has hired former Louisville coach Chris Mack as its men's coach after its last coach in Pat Kelsey left to take the Cardinals job last week.

Athletic director Matt Roberts said Tuesday that Mack agreed to a five-year contract to take over the program.

Mack will receive $1.1 million per year through the 2028-29 season. He is also eligible for a range of performance bonus, from $150,000 for winning the NCAA Tournament to $5,000 for an NIT appearance.

Should Mack leave his position in the first two seasons, he would owe the school $1.5 million. That figure decreases to $1 million in his third season and $750,000 in his fourth season. He would owe nothing if he departs in his final season.

The school would owe Mack 100% of what remains on the deal should it dismiss him.

Mack also earned a $35,000 signing bonus, earmarked in the contract for moving expenses and temporary lodging.

Mack made the NCAA Tournament nine times in 12 full seasons as coach at Xavier and Louisville. Mack's time with the Cardinals ended in January 2022 when he was dismissed with the team at 6-8. Mack had been suspended the first six games of the season by Louisville, which said he violated school guidelines in his firing of one-time Cardinals assistant coach Dino Gaudio.

Mack has not coached since then.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be the next men’s basketball head coach at the College of Charleston," Mack said in a statement. “I’m more motivated than any coach in the country, and Cougar Nation is going to get my absolute best.”

The Cougars went to the past two NCAA Tournaments as Coastal Athletic Association Tournament champions under Kelsey. They fell in the opening round to Final Four bound Alabama, 109-96.

Kelsey, on social media, called it a “great day for the College of Charleston as a new era arrives.” Kelsey said he and Mack are lifelong friends, “and I know the city will absolutely love him. He is a phenomenal basketball coach and a connector.”

Roberts said school leaders wanted someone who was a proven winner who shared the vision of championship basketball. “Chris Mack will undoubtedly continue the high level of success that our students, alumni, donors and community deserve," he said.

Mack and Louisville were No. 1 for two weeks during the 2019-20 season, finishing 24-7 and 15-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

At Xavier, Mack's teams reached four Sweet 16s and made an Elite Eight appearance in 2017.

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness