BYU students react to Mark Pope’s move to Kentucky

Apr 12, 2024, 3:02 PM | Updated: 3:41 pm

Former BYU men’s head basketball coach Mark Pope high-fives the front row of the student section ...

Former BYU men’s head basketball coach Mark Pope high-fives the front row of the student section after BYU beat Bellarmine in a men’s basketball game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Friday, Dec. 22, 2023. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah — Students at Brigham Young University are disappointed but not too surprised to hear about BYU men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope. Pope will be leaving the school to become head coach at Kentucky. Even without him, students believe the team will have a good season next year.


Many of the students on campus said they understood why Pope would leave for Kentucky.

Student Matt Christensen said that understanding doesn’t lessen his disappointment. 

“I’m bummed, man. I get why he did it. He was an alumni there and it’s going to be probably a better job, Kentucky is generally better at sports than BYU most of the time,” Christensen said.

“But yeah he’s been a great coach, he’s made the program really what it is today, he did really good this year. It’s kind of a bummer.”

Other students said they understand that the University of Kentucky is his alma mater and is a well-established basketball school that will benefit from Pope’s teaching style. 

Students don’t have any idea who will become the new head coach.  They believe the team will still have a successful second season in the Big 12 even without Pope. 

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BYU students react to Mark Pope’s move to Kentucky