Kentucky’s Mark Pope expressed gratitude for time as BYU head coach

Apr 21, 2024, 9:51 AM | Updated: Apr 22, 2024, 9:47 am

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 – Former BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope has settled into his new role as the Kentucky Wildcats bench boss.

“One week ago the Pope girls and I came HOME to UK to start the greatest adventure of our lives. It has been a whirlwind of awesomeness–that’s what Kentucky basketball IS! It’s the pinnacle of basketball,” wrote Pope on Sunday on X (formerly Twitter). “And BBN has gone straight next level in redefining southern hospitality! Thank you! We are immersed in the work. We will be relentless. We know the assignment! We will ALL do this together. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude. We are home.”

Since accepting the Kentucky job ten days ago, Pope hasn’t said anything about his time at BYU. During his introductory press conference with the Wildcats last week in a sold out Rupp Arena, he didn’t mention BYU by them.

Mark Pope said thank you to BYU basketball

Pope expressed gratitude for his time at BYU in the same X post. When combining his time as head coach and an assistant, Pope spent nine seasons in the BYU basketball program.

“On this sacred Sunday morning I am also filled with immense gratitude for the blessings that have lead [sic] us here. BYU will always be an incredibly special place to our family. Soon after we arrived at BYU one mentor told me that ‘BYU had more to offer me than I had to offer BYU.’ Those words proved to be SO true as we felt the BYU experience change our lives for the better. It’s overwhelming to reflect on the countless lifelong friendships that we forged at BYU. We are SO grateful.”

During his five seasons as BYU’s head coach, Pope posted a record of 110-52 and two NCAA Tournament appearances with the Cougars.

Since Pope departed for Kentucky, BYU hired Phoenix Suns Associate Head Coach Kevin Young as their next head coach.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Mark Pope calls Kentucky job ‘pinnacle of coaching in college basketball’

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Kentucky’s Mark Pope expressed gratitude for time as BYU head coach