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UVU’s Mark Pope to become BYU basketball coach

Apr 10, 2019, 10:17 AM | Updated: 4:19 pm
Mark Pope BYU basketball coach...
Mark Pope speaks as he is introduced as BYU's new basketball coach during a press conference in Provo on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

PROVO — Utah Valley University head men’s basketball coach Mark Pope has been introduced as the new head coach at Brigham Young University, replacing the retiring Dave Rose.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon making the announcement official, the Kentucky standout, a member of the 1996 championship squad under then-Coach Rick Pitino, thanked all the mentors and coaches who came before him – including Rose, for whom he once served as an assistant.

“I begged Dave Rose to come here and learn from him,” Pope said.

Pope told reporters he has used a different recruiting style at UVU – and hopes to bring that same philosophy to BYU. He described himself and his staff as being “directly hardnosed” with potential players in an effort to be “100% transparent” — so he could feel confident the players who wound up on his team truly wanted to be there.

Pope also said he intends his Cougars to be fully invested in the program.

“We will be wholehearted in everything we do. We will be relentless,” Pope said.

The Bellevue, Washington native played two years at the University of Washington before transferring to the University of Kentucky, where he was a member of the 1996 championship team. That same year, he was drafted in the NBA’s second round by the Indiana Pacers, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets until the 2004-2005 season.

Pope attended medical school for three years at Columbia before leaving to join the basketball coaching staff at the University of Georgia. He has also been an assistant at Wake Forest.

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UVU’s Mark Pope to become BYU basketball coach