UK Men's Basketball

He played for Kentucky’s 1996 national champs. Now he’s the new head coach at BYU.

Celebrating 40 years: Rupp Arena, an ‘icon’

Rupp Arena celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Even as the arena works to re-invent itself for the modern sports age, take a look back at a remarkable run. Documentary footage from "Game Changer: The Lexington Center Story" courtesy Arthur
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Rupp Arena celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Even as the arena works to re-invent itself for the modern sports age, take a look back at a remarkable run. Documentary footage from "Game Changer: The Lexington Center Story" courtesy Arthur

Mark Pope, a member of the University of Kentucky’s 1996 national championship basketball team, was named head coach at Brigham Young University on Wednesday.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pope, 46, succeeds Dave Rose, who retired at the end of the 2018-19 season after 14 seasons and 348 wins as head coach.

Pope has spent the past four seasons as head coach at Utah Valley of the Western Athletic Conference, compiling a record of 77-56, including 20-win seasons the past two years. Before that, Pope spent four seasons as an assistant under Rose at BYU, which plays in the West Coast Conference.

BYU finished 19-13 this past season and came in third in the West Coast Conference, which was won by perennial power Gonzaga.

Before embarking on a coaching career, Pope played six seasons in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets The 6-foot-10 center posted averages of 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in 153 career games, including 57 starts.

Pope played two seasons at Kentucky after transferring from Washington. As a senior in 1995-96, Pope averaged 7.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks per game on a Rick Pitino-coached roster that sent nine players to the NBA.

Pope, a native of Omaha, Neb., initially enrolled in medical school upon completing his NBA playing days but later decided to embark on a coaching career. He worked under Mark Fox at Georgia and Jeff Bzdelik at Wake Forest before joining Rose at BYU.

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