July 18, 2024

Mark Pope, the head coach of BYU’s men’s basketball team, has announced his departure to become the new head coach at the University of Kentucky. Pope, who has been with BYU for five seasons, compiled an impressive 110-52 record and took the Cougars to three postseason appearances, including two NCAA Tournament trips​ .

Pope’s move to Kentucky marks a return to his alma mater, where he was a captain of the 1996 National Championship team. University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart praised Pope’s innovative coaching style and strong recruiting skills, emphasizing his deep connection to the program.

Former Kentucky basketball captain Mark Pope replaces John Calipari as  program's next head coach | Fox News

BYU students have expressed disappointment but understand the allure of the Kentucky job, given its prominence in college basketball. Many acknowledge that Pope’s departure, while a loss for BYU, is a significant career move for him​​.

As BYU looks for Pope’s replacement, several candidates have been mentioned, including Mark Madsen of California, Alex Jensen of the Dallas Mavericks, and Chris Burgess of Utah. These potential hires reflect BYU’s intent to maintain a competitive program in the Big 12​.

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