Kevin Young’s hires remain intriguing aspect of his philosophy

BYU’s new men’s head basketball coach Kevin Young looks up at the Marriott Center as he walks in prior to the official announcement in Provo on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.
BYU’s new men’s head basketball coach Kevin Young looks up at the Marriott Center as he walks in prior to the official announcement in Provo on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

New BYU head basketball coach Kevin Young hit home runs with his hiring of Stanford’s Brandon Dunson, Utah’s Chris Burgess and Nevada associate athletic director and veteran college coach Doug Stewart — and he’s not finished yet.

The new staff is focusing on recruiting as the transfer portal closes at the end of May and they’ve made contact with top-ranked high school players from across the country, setting the stage for a 2025 class. Both Burgess and Dunson have been zeroed in on BYU targets, and their forte is recruiting.

Cougar Insider predictions

Question of the week: What should Kevin Young be looking for in his next staff hires?

Jay Drew: Kevin Young has done a masterful job in assembling his first coaching staff at BYU to date, getting Brandon Dunson from Stanford and Chris Burgess from the University of Utah. Both are excellent hires and check a lot of boxes. Certainly, Burgess’ close ties with local recruits will help BYU’s efforts in that regard. That ability probably can’t be overstated, because there are a couple of bumper crops coming through the Utah prep and all-star circuit ranks in the next few years.

Now Young should turn his attention to getting another coach with NBA ties so he can show he’s serious about developing players to compete at the next level. Personally, I would like to see current BYU assistant (under Pope) Nick Robinson get one of the spots, for continuity’s sake. Also because Robinson is a good person and has paid his dues.

Another possibility would be to find a coach with international ties, perhaps even a coach from Eastern Europe, which is now a basketball hotbed. Burgess played 11 seasons overseas, so he has some strong international experience as well.

Dick Harmon: It is very intriguing how Young is organizing his coaching staff. He explained to both Dunson and Burgess his goal is to use an NBA model with his staff, thus the creation of a “chief of staff” position and hire of Doug Stewart. With Stewart focusing on NIL and player development, I see a very individualized approach of giving each player specific attention on his needs to progress — a good selling point to recruits.

Burgess and Dunson are known as elite recruiters, which is key because of the restrictive nature of BYU admissions; they will have to get the right fit with prospects. It remains to be seen who will be in charge of the offense and defense. Young himself could take on a coordinator role because Stewart should have a lot of administrative duties.

I’d like to see Young retain Robinson, too, because of his knowledge of BYU’s unique operations, which Burgess also knows. The next hire could be a younger, entry-level person with an NBA, college or international background. I’m thinking a lot of Young’s coaching salary allotment has been tied up in hiring Burgess, Dunson and Stewart so far. If not, and he brings in someone who requires a big salary, it only adds to the groundbreaking moves made by the school’s administration.

Cougar tales

BYU’s men’s and women’s track and field performers should produce strong results at the Big 12 outdoor championships in Waco, Texas, this week. Here is a preview of the meet. In women’s basketball, the Cougars added California shooting star Kemery Martin to the roster.

In football, BYU added transfer target offensive guard Austin Leausa from Southern Utah and USU, and he is projected to make a run for a starting job.

From the archives

From the X-verse

Extra points

  • QB McCae Hillstead explains why he left USU for BYU (Deseret News)

  • Dallin Hall finds alignment with Kevin Young (KSL Sports)

  • Dawson Baker explains his reaction to KY (Deseret News)


Comments from Deseret News readers:

This is a big step up for Burgess in programs and salary. Kevin Young is a great tutor. If he is successful in recruiting and coaching, he will be a head coach somewhere.

— Owl

No argument from me on this article, as I heard the radio chatter about McCae. Year after year, we see starters being hurt and QB depth a huge factor in the second half of the season. Offensive line play is crucial to the success of the Cougars, to allow these QBs time and opportunity to produce. I just hope the coaches recognize and use the best talent, and don’t take an entire season to figure that out. McCae seems like Brandon Doman, discounted, thought of as perhaps a scatback or short receiver/returner in his day. Brandon was awesome when he finally got into the game.

— Epoint

Up next

  • May 9 | 10 a.m. | Softball | Oklahoma State | Big 12 Softball Championship | @ Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  • May 9-11 | Track and field | Big 12 championships | @ Waco, Texas

  • May 11 | 11:30 a.m. | Baseball | Cincinnati | @ Provo