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Xavier, Steele ‘part ways,’ Musketeers begin search for new coach

The news broke Wednesday afternoon, after Xavier’s close NIT opening round win over Cleveland State.

NCAA Basketball: Cleveland State at Xavier Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

After four years as Xavier’s head coach, Travis Steele’s time with the Musketeers has come to an end.

The Musketeers and Steele have agreed to part ways, effective immediately, and Xavier will begin its search for his replacement, first reported by the Musketeer Report’s Rick Broering and confirmed by multiple sources.

The agreement was finalized on Wednesday morning, shortly after Xavier was able to pull off a close 72-68 win over Cleveland State in the opening round of the NIT on Tuesday night.

Steele, who had been an assistant coach for Xavier from 2009-18 before succeeding former coach Chris Mack, went a combined 70-50 through his four seasons at the helm of the program.

It was Steele’s first head coaching gig. The Musketeers went a combined 31-37 in Big East play. They never qualified for the NCAA Tournament during Steele’s tenure. They made it to the second round of the NIT in his debut season, then reached the second round of the NIT once again this season.

The NCAA Tournament was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, but the Musketeers failed to qualify for the postseason in 2021.

His contract was originally set to run through the 2024 season.

Xavier is 19-13 this season and will play the winner of Iona and Florida in the NIT second round, which is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

With virtually everyone back from last season, the Musketeers enjoyed a promising 11-1 start to the season. However, they faltered in Big East play, losing 8 of their last 10 games, including an upset overtime loss to Butler in the opening round of the Big East Tournament. They were ranked in the AP Top 25 from late November through mid-February.