McMahon comes to LSU after a charmed run at Murray State, where he recruited and coached Ja Morant and won NCAA tournament games in both 2019 and 2022. This season he led Murray State to a 31-3 record and the school's fourth regular-season conference championship in the past five years.
"My family and I are extremely excited to join the Baton Rouge community and lead the LSU Basketball program forward," McMahon said in a statement. "I look forward to building relationships with our current players and recruiting elite student-athletes to LSU, and I'm excited to join the best athletic department -- and the most iconic brand -- in all of college sports. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and I cannot wait to get to work."
McMahon, 43, has established himself as one of the country's brightest young coaches. He has won just under 70% of his games at Murray State (154-67) in seven seasons there and reached three NCAA tournaments over the past five seasons.
"It was essential for us to hire a coach with a winning standard of performance, as well as the consistency and character to elevate our men's basketball program to new heights," LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said in a statement. "Matt is exactly what we were looking for. His vision for our program and his values as a leader align perfectly with ours as an institution, and he has a proven track record of identifying talent, developing student-athletes, and building championship basketball programs."
McMahon replaces Will Wade, who was fired by LSU prior to the NCAA tournament after receiving a lengthy notice of allegations from the NCAA tied to his tenure.
The uncertainty surrounding LSU's future in the NCAA infractions process means McMahon will inherit one of the most uncertain situations in all of college basketball. LSU's notice of allegations from the Complex Case Unit of the Independent Accountability Resolution Process includes seven Level I violations and a Level II violation tied to Wade's tenure. A decision from the IARP is due in the upcoming months, and it's impossible to project the extent of the potential violations.
While the school did not release the terms of the deal, it is believed that McMahon received a long contract that accounts for the potential of NCAA sanctions from the allegations tied to Wade's tenure.
McMahon's teams at Murray State pulled off a pair of NCAA tournament victories in his tenure there. The Morant-led team of 2019, which was a No. 12 seed, sent home No. 5 Marquette. This year, the seventh-seeded Racers beat No. 10 seed San Francisco in the first round in what ended up being an SEC preview, as Florida hired USF's Todd Golden soon after the game. McMahon's 2018 team at Murray State lost to No. 5 West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
McMahon comes to LSU after getting significant interest from other jobs, including the one at South Carolina.
McMahon's profile doesn't perfectly fit with Woodward's affinity for hiring brand-name coaches -- Chris Petersen, Jimbo Fisher, Buzz Williams and Brian Kelly. But McMahon did enter March as perhaps the hottest young coach on the market who isn't already at a high-major school.
McMahon has a taste of SEC experience, as he spent two seasons at Tennessee as a graduate assistant under Buzz Peterson. He also briefly took a job in the state of Louisiana as an assistant, joining the staff at Louisiana Tech for two weeks before Steve Prohm's exit to Iowa State opened the door for him to become Murray State's head coach in 2015.