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Chris Mack complimentary of Greg Gard’s path and success

After Bo Ryan retired in December, Xavier head coach Chris Mack emerged as a possible replacement in the national search

Until Greg Gard went 12-6 in Big Ten play and earned the Wisconsin head coaching job, removing his interim tag.

On Saturday, Mack was very complimentary of Gard. Even though he does not know Gard, Mack did not hold back from applauding the job the Wisconsin coach has done in the last two months with a young team that lost five important players last season.

“He’s done a terrific job,” Mack said. “I don’t have to know Greg that well to see that. I know that a lot was made of all the pieces that Wisconsin lost from a year ago, and they didn’t have necessarily the nonconference start that Badger fans were probably used to or even expecting because of so much success that Coach Ryan’s had. But it’s been really impressive to see the growth of this year’s team with some younger players.”

Mack applauded Gard for not only turning around the season, but also Gard’s path to get to this point. Gard started off coaching middle schoolers and moving on to Southwestern High School before joining Bo Ryan at UW-Plateville, UW-Milwaukee, and of course ending up Wisconsin (UW-Madison).

Mack began his coaching career with junior varsity basketball at McAuley High School after splitting his college playing years at Evansville and Xavier. He then became head coach of Mount Notre Dame High School in 1995 until 1999. Mack’s big jump came as an assistant at Xavier, Wake Forest, and back to Xavier for 10 years after his high school coaching days. He was named head coach of Xavier in 2009 and has an 162-75 record.

“Obviously Greg earning the job before the season was over says a lot about the job he did,” Mack continued. “So from afar, you know, I’m happy because anytime you have an assistant coach in a program that has dedicated their entire professional life for that program — I mean, he’s been there for such a long time, it’s really good to see. Because a lot of times assistant coaches, all they need is a shot, they just need a chance. A lot of times what keeps them back is that experience. It’s hard. If you don’t get a shot, how do you get experience? So I’m really happy for him. Obviously a big-time job. But he’s proven so far that he’s certainly more than able.”

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