BYU hires Kevin Young as head basketball coach

BYU hires Kevin Young as head basketball coach

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It didn’t take long for BYU to find its new head coach.

BYU has hired 42-year-old Phoenix Suns associate head coach Kevin Young to replace Mark Pope, who left for Kentucky last week.

Young, who is the highest paid NBA assistant coach at $2 million per year, will continue working with the Suns in the playoffs, but will begin working on retaining current BYU players, contacting recruits and assembling a coaching staff immediately.

BYU’s deal for Young is reportedly a 7-year contract worth $30 million, which would make Young the highest paid BYU head coach in school history.

4-star BYU commit follows Pope to Kentucky

“We are excited to announce Kevin as our new head men’s basketball coach and welcome him and his family to BYU,” BYU athletic director Holmoe said. “We had a variety of excellent candidates and a lot of interest in this position. Kevin is someone we have had our eye on for a while. He has risen to the top of NBA assistant coaching ranks. He has been a lead candidate for NBA head coaching jobs and has been instrumental in developing top-level NBA talent. Kevin will bring a new perspective, with an extensive NBA background to our program. He is a phenomenal fit at BYU. He is humble, fun and super intelligent. Cougar Nation is going to love getting to know Kevin.”

Young, who was born in Salt Lake City, spent eight seasons as a coach in the G-League, including with the Utah Flash. He started his coaching career as an assistant with Utah Valley University, so he is very familiar with the state of Utah.

Mark Pope introduced as Kentucky’s new head coach

In addition to the Flash, Young also coached the Iowa Energy and Delaware 87ers. Young began to gain momentum as a head-coaching candidate in openings a year ago, including interviews with the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets and Suns. Young previously interviewed for head-coaching jobs with the Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.

Young helped the 76ers reach the playoffs three times, including second-round appearances in 2018 and 2019. In October of 2020, he was named assistant coach for the Suns, where he helped them reach the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2010. He was elevated to associate head coach a year later, where he served as acting head coach for a four-game stretch.

Young will take over a BYU roster that is flux. Starting point guard Dallin Hall, starting center Aly Khalifa and key reserve Richie Saunders have already entered the transfer portal, but could return to the Cougars. 4-star BYU commit Collin Chandler announced on Tuesday that he is following Mark Pope to Kentucky.

BYU finished its first season in the Big 12 Conference with a record of 23-11, earning a 6-seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Duquesne in the first round.

Phoenix is the 6-seed in the Western Conference playoffs, and will open a seven-game series at Minnesota on Saturday.

Young is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints.

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