In a spirited rivalry like the one shared by the University of Dayton and Xavier, you always find somebody who steps over the line and turns into a jerk. That was the case Saturday with some folks in the UD student section at the Arena.
They targeted Christi Mack, the UD hall of fame candidate and the wife of Xavier’s coach, Chris Mack.
Christi — who was a star of the UD women’s team in the late 1990s and is remembered here as one of the most delightful players ever to wear a Flyers basketball uniform — was sitting behind the Xavier bench in the first half wearing a blue and white striped shirt and that ever-present smile.
According to one UD official that’s when she said some UD students began taunting her using nasty terms, including:
“Christi Hester is a b——! Christi Hester is a b——-!”
UD season ticket holders who were sitting near her said she became visibly upset and then tearful. Eventually she got up from her seat, removed the chain over the aisle that gives entry to the court and headed toward UD officials sitting at the end of the scorer’s table.
An usher tried to stop her, but she was heard saying “I know him.”
She was referring to Dick Netzley, the long-time director of game operations at the Arena.
“Some students were yelling some pretty nasty staff, she said, and she was upset and crying,” Netzley said. “We asked her to point out where they were and she did, but by the time we got there, they had taken off.”
She returned to her seat and one season ticket holder near her said she began to weep.
Netzley said the alleged offenders returned after the halftime break and security personnel collared them and threw them out of the arena.
“Once it was handled Christi was satisfied,” Neztley said.
After UD had beaten Xavier, 70-59, she spent some time courtside visiting with longtime UD acquaintances.
Interestingly, in two weeks she was supposed to be inducted into the UD Athletic Hall of Fame along with former UD great and NBA player, Chris Harris, former athletic director Ted Kissell and some other candidates.
She asked UD to postpone her induction until next year because on the day of this year’s ceremony — Saturday, March 2 — Xavier hosts UMass at the Cintas Center, so her husband would be unable to attend the festivities.
Christi scored 1,268 points in her UD career — 13th on the all-time career scorers’ list — and is among the top 10 in several other career categories.
More importantly — while in a Flyers’ uniform and in the years since as the director of basketball operations for XU’s women’s team, the former head girls coach at Colerain High and as the mother of two young daughters — she has always promoted the University of Dayton in great light.
Too bad that can’t be said for the foul-mouthed students who got the heave-ho.