Georgetown’s search for a new head coach continues, but it’s sure not from a lack of effort. After being reportedly turned down by Shaka Smart and Mike Brey, the Hoyas shifted their attention to Xavier head coach Chris Mack. Unfortunately, their pursuit of Mack came with the same results. According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, the Hoyas approached Mack with an offer of $4 million per season, that he eventually turned down.
If true, it’s not hard to understand why Mack would turn down the offer. His Xavier Musketeers are in the same conference as Georgetown, the Big East, and it’s rare to see a coach jump from program to program within the same league.
Georgetown’s reported offer would have been a huge boost in pay for Mack, who makes $1.4 million per season now. More reason why Georgetown’s continued swings and misses at finding a replacement for John Thompson III is alarming.
It’s hard to fault the Hoyas’ administration for shooting high. Smart is a dynamic head coach with an impressive resume as both an assistant at Florida and head coach at VCU before being the top guy at Texas. However, Georgetown is not that much a bigger job than Texas. And considering Smart has a top-10 recruiting class coming into Austin next season, it was not hard to see why he would not entertain the interest from Georgetown.
Their biggest gut-punch is the fact Brey, who is currently the head coach at Notre Dame, turned down the Hoyas. The local guy who is head coaching a program that he built competing in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference, was not willing to leave behind his current situation for what could be described as a dream job for him.
Mack’s dedication to Xavier will make it that more difficult to lure him to another program. And it would have to be for a program definitively bigger than the Musketeers. Right now, you can debate which program is more significant. Xavier has made the NCAA tournament each of the past four seasons under Mack. They also, have been to the NCAA tournament seven of his eight season, reaching the Sweet 16 three times and the Elite Eight last week, losing to Gonzaga.
Without John Thompson, Jr., Georgetown does not match the same prestige that its school believe it has. Yes, Georgetown has five Final Four appearances but four of those came with the Thompson name. Georgetown has five NCAA tournament appearances since 2009-10 when Mack took over at Xavier. The Hoyas have just two tournament wins, never going past the Round of 32 in that timespan. Georgetown has reached the NCAA tournament just once in the last four seasons. Remember both Xavier and Georgetown have been in the same conference the past four seasons.
Their current approach to hire a new head coach, should humble the program’s bigwigs. There’s skepticism about life after Thompson for the D.C. school. And it will be a bit hard to get a top-tier coach or one that is on the verge of being one to leave their program for Georgetown. Where the Hoyas’ search now remains to be seen. But it will be interesting to see if their next target is outside of three names that have been popular among fans and quite possibly more realistic — Dan Hurley of Rhode Island, Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, and Georgetown legend Patrick Ewing.