“Destination School?”

Please everyone catch your breath.  I am not even going to touch on the enigma that is March Madness just yet.  I am going to let the events that have transpired over the past 4 days set in, and discuss them tomorrow.  Today I am going to talk about one team in particular that continues to wow me.  There is a small, private, jesuit school off of Victory Parkway in Cincinnati called Xavier.  This is a University that has about 4,000 undergraduate students, yet they have gone dancing 9 of the past 10 years!

Not many teams in the country come close to boasting the highly impressive resume that the Xavier Musketeers have put up in March over the past decade.  This is a team that is no stranger to big games and has really thrived under the tourney pressure.  Well today was no different as they knocked off a very strong Pitt team out of the mighty Big East (or at least mighty before this weekend).  Even when Pitt made a furious run in the middle of the 2nd half, the Musketeers kept their cool and made their free throws down the stretch to insure a birth into the Sweet 16 for a 3rd consecutive year.

Coaches such as Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser, Thad Matta, and Sean Miller have all come and gone.  They have made pit stops in Cincinnati and departed for so called “bigger and better” jobs.  At this point, there are not too many “bigger and better” jobs that you can get in College Basketball.

Xavier, as I mentioned before has been dancing 9 of the last 10 years. They have made the Sweet 16 or better in each of the past three years including 2 Elite Eight appearances.  Cintas Center is an outstanding, top of the line facility that sells out every night.  Not to mention Xavier has not had a Varsity Football team for years!  The basketball team is the biggest and only show in town at this school.  There is no competition with another big revenue sport.  Men’s basketball is the identity of the University.

Now guys like Pete, Skip, Thad, and Sean all did wonderful jobs while they were at Xavier.  I am not calling them bad people by any means.  They are actually all great coaches, and even better people.  Every basketball player that has played for the Musketeers since 1985 has graduated.  Their players take care of business both on and off the court.  In addition, Forbes rated Xavier a top 20 most valuable program in College Basketball.  Xavier is one of only 2 non BCS schools to make this distinguished list.

So today just really reiterated to me that Xavier should not be a launch pad school.  They have become a destination program.  The Muskies have developed into a powerhouse and look to be here to stay.  So if Chris Mack continues to have the success he is having over the next couple of years, will he depart for a Big 10, ACC, or Big East school that comes knocking?  This is something that we will have to wait and find out on.

So my question for you today.  Is Xavier a destination job for men’s hoops or will it continue to be just a stopping point for coaches as they continue to want to leave for the power conferences?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.



4 responses to ““Destination School?”

  1. Xavier is a great program. The reason coaches leave there for bigger schools is because being a smaller school, Xavier cannot pay their coaches the same money that some of the bigger schools can. If you are making 1 million at Xavier and a school from the Big East, Big Ten, etc offers you 3 million, what are you going to do? Tubby is considering leaving Minnesota because they can only pay him 2 million while other programs scan pay him more. It is a job, just like any job.

  2. Xavier impressed me as well this tournament. It was a surprise that Sean Miller left such a good team. However he did. Now as for the destination job situation, yes, sadly schools such as Xavier will always be considered a destination job for people such as Thad Matta or Sean Miller. What seperates their new coach though is Chris Mack is actually a local. He went to St. Xavier High School and then went on to get his undergraduate degree at none other than Xavier University. If he didn’t have local ties he would probably leave. There will always be programs that can and will afford to pay coaches more than what Xavier can offer. The Forbes comment surprises me considering the arena only holds roughly 10,000 seats and they sell their tickets for half the price they go for at the other school four miles away. With that type of size it will be difficult to keep coaches. Maybe the local boy will stay, but anybody that watches Xavier play for the last decade has to be impressed.

    • Joe Vick,
      All valid points. I would love to see Mack stay with all of his local ties regardless if there is big money elsewhere.

      Only time will tell.


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