Pegues excited, confident as he replaces absent Mack | University sport


In 12 years as an assistant coach at the college level, Mike Pegues has experienced many different situations. Starting at midnight Monday, he will enter uncharted territory when he officially becomes the temporary head coach of the Louisville men’s basketball team.

This is when head coach Chris Mack must step down to begin his six-game unpaid college suspension during which he is prohibited from having any contact with his coaching staff or staff. players. This is the sanction announced on August 30 for non-compliance with university procedures in the context of the dismissal of assistant coach Dino Guadio.

So what is Pegues (pronounced Puh-GEESE) thinking about as he prepares to lead the U of L?

“A range of emotions, sure, but really excited, mainly, for Team 108 to come out and play a regular season game,” he said at a press conference Monday afternoon. . “It’s an exciting time of the year and I can’t wait to be a part of it in another capacity for the first time.”

Butterflies ?

“Of course I think I would be a robot if I didn’t,” Pegues said. “A little nervousness, a little anxiety. I think I well deserve this opportunity and I’m glad Coach recognized me for it, whatever the circumstances. I think nervousness is a good thing. When I was playing I was always a little nervous, but when the ball went up it was time to go and that’s how I will be on Tuesday.

The Cardinals opened the season Tuesday at home against Southern.

He told Mack’s board “Just be yourself.”

Pegues, a former striker / center from Delaware where he is the career leading scorer, has spent the last 10 years working under Mack at Xavier and U of L, so he is familiar with the system and what Mack expects from his staff and of its players. Prior to that, he spent a season as Shaka Smart’s video coordinator in Virginia Commonwealth and two years as an assistant with Mike Brey in Delaware.

“I think the rest of the world will see how great a coach he is,” Mack said. “A lot of times guys who are assistants never really get a chance to be at the forefront of the program, the face of the program. And Mike is such a great leader that he will do a great job in my absence.

Jarrod West, a transfer graduate from Marshall and co-captain with Malik Williams, thinks so too and believes the transition will be relatively seamless.

“It’s definitely a unique situation,” West said. “I have never played in a basketball game where the head coach is not coaching. It’s just a strange situation. It will be different, but we have a lot of respect for coach Pegues and all the staff.

“All of the assistants did a great job in training, and even in exhibition matches, making their voices heard, providing information, scout reports and stuff like that. Being without Coach Mack is sure to be different for sure. It’s a strange thing, and it will bring adversity to this team early on. But I actually think it’s going to help us get closer in the long run, so it’s just something we’ll have to adjust to. “

As for Mack, he insists he has his next break on his mind for now and is focusing on scheduling issues until the clock strikes 12.

“I haven’t really thought about it. Just trying to make sure that our parents are well informed, the players are well informed, the coaching staff, the rookies, trying to educate them and inform them. But when it comes to my personal feelings, I didn’t really care about that, ”he said.

Mack is known among his players, coaches and the media that covers him for his wry sense of humor.

“It was a tough time for Coach, but even then he found a way to add a little sarcasm,” Pegues recalls. “He said to me, ‘Try to do 0-6.’ “

Here are Louisville’s top six opponents, along with Kenpom and Sagarin’s preseason standings:

SOUTH – Kenpom, 319; Sagarine, 326

FURMAN – Kenpom, 118; Sagarine, 87 years old

NAVY – Kenpom, 188; Sagarine, 179

DETROIT MERCY – Kenpom, 200; Sagarine, 196

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Kenpom, 65; Sagarine, 69 years old

MARYLAND – Kenpom, 18; Sagarine, 37 years old


RICHMOND – Kenpom, 64; Sagarine, 65 years old

GAINES JOINS THE CARDS. Reece Gaines, Louisville’s 4th top scorer in men’s basketball and a Cardinals Hall of Fame member whose playing career brought two Hall of Fame coaches together, has been hired as director of player and team development. relations with elders.

For the past two seasons, Gaines has been an assistant coach of the Austin Spurs (2019-21), the San Antonio Spurs’ G League team.

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