Who will replace Mark Pope at BYU?

Who will replace Mark Pope at BYU?

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Now that Mark Pope has officially accepted the head coaching job at his alma mater, Kentucky, the seach is on to find his replacement.

Traditionally, BYU has hired members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as head coaches. But that is a practice and not a policy. Athletic director Tom Holmoe recently hired Diljeet Taylor, who is not a member of the church, as the women’s cross-country coach.

Here is a look at some of the top candidates:


If Holmoe were to stick to church members, Mark Madsen would probably be at the top of his list. Madsen just spent his first season as head coach of Cal, where he had a fairly successful seasons, leading the Bears to a 9-11 Pac-12 record. Madsen spent the previous four seasons at Utah Valley, where he replaced Pope when he left for BYU, and was 83-70 with the Wolverines. While Madsen is and up and coming coach, he just signed a contract extension through 2030 at Cal, and his buyout is in the millions.

On Friday, Madsen reaffirmed his commitment to Cal in a post on social media, saying he is “fully committed for the future here at Cal.”


Holmoe could also turn to Utah assistant Chris Burgess, who is also a member of the church. Burgess was also an assistant under Pope at BYU from 2019-2022 and is very familiar with the Utah scene, having coached at Utah Valley and Salt Lake Community College. Burgess also played under Rick Majerus at Utah from 2000-2002.


UNLV assistant Barret Peery is also a candidate. Peery has strong ties to the state of Utah. He born in Payson, and was an assistant coach at Utah under Jim Boylen from 2008-2011. Peery was also an assistant at Southern Utah (1998-2002), where helped lead the program to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and a 25-6 record. He also had early coaching stints at Utah Valley (1997-98) and Snow College (1996-97). From 2017-21, Peery was the head coach at Portland State, where led the Vikings to a 63-57 overall record.


Alex Jensen is currently an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, and before that was an assistant with the Utah Jazz for ten years since the 2013-14 season. Jensen was a star player at the University of Utah, leading the Utes to the 1998 National Championship Game. Jensen has never been a head coach at any level, but may be enticed to return to Utah, even if it with Utah’s rival.


Phoenix Suns associate head coach Kevin Young could be a candidate. Young has been with the Suns since 2020, and before that he helped coach the Philadelphia 76ers from 2016-2020. Young has ties to Utah, having been the Utah Flash head coach in the G-League and a Utah Valley assistant.


If Holmoe decides to stay in-house, BYU assistant coach Nick Robinson would be a strong candidate. Robinson has been at BYU since 2019. He was also Southern Utah’s head coach from 2012-16, so he has head coaching experience.


If Holmoe makes a hire outside of church membership, BYU assistant Cody Fueger could be a top candidate. Fueger is credited for running the Cougars high powered offense in which BYU was one of the top three-point shooters in the nation. However, both Fueger and Robinson could be going with Pope to Kentucky.

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