Reports: Mark Pope expected to be Kentucky's next coach

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 12 Apr, 2024 at 02:59 AM

Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

BYU coach Mark Pope, who won a national title as a player with Kentucky, is expected to return to his alma mater and succeed John Calipari as head coach, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.

Per the Lexington Herald-Leader, Pope could officially become Kentucky's coach on Thursday night.

Pope, 51, who played two seasons with Kentucky, including the 1995-96 national championship team, has guided BYU to two NCAA Tournament appearances in his five seasons and posted a 110-52 record.

In the just-concluded season, the Cougars' first in the Big 12, BYU went 23-11 overall and 10-8 in the conference. The Cougars were upset by No. 11 seed Duquesne in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Pope, who played parts of six NBA seasons, began his coaching career at Georgia as an assistant for the 2009-10 season. He moved on to the same role at Wake Forest (2010-11) and BYU (2011-15) before becoming head coach at Utah Valley (2015-19), where he went 77-56 in four seasons.

Calipari left for Arkansas after making four Final Four appearances and winning a national title in 2012 as coach of Kentucky, where he went 410-123. This season, Kentucky went 23-10 overall and 13-5 in the Southeastern Conference but was upset by No. 14 seed Oakland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Baylor's Scott Drew, UConn's Dan Hurley, Alabama's Nate Oats and former Villanova coach Jay Wright publicly said they weren't interested in the Kentucky position.

Former college coach Billy Donovan, an ex-Kentucky assistant who is now head coach of the Chicago Bulls, said he was committed to his current role.

--Field Level Media