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Mark Pope Sets Record For Most Wins By First-Year BYU Head Coach

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope yells after referees charged BYU with a blocking foul rather than charge Gonzaga with a charging foul at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope has infused confidence and excitement around a program that less than a year ago had uncertainty.

In his first year as head coach, Pope has helped lead the Cougars to a No. 17 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and more importantly 23 wins approaching the regular-season finale on Saturday at Pepperdine. The 23 victories are the most wins by a first-year head coach at BYU in the history of the Men’s Basketball program.

Prior to Pope’s 23 wins this season, the previous record holder for wins by a first-year head man was 70 years ago when Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Stan Watts led BYU to 22 wins during his first campaign during the 1949-50 season.

BYU will take on Pepperdine in Malibu, California to close out the regular season followed by a trip to Las Vegas for the West Coast Conference Tournament. In five seasons as a Division 1 head coach, Pope has won 100 games and his last three seasons, which includes this one at BYU, has seen his teams win at least 23 games.

Pope previously coached at Utah Valley University before becoming BYU’s head coach this past April.

Mark Pope leads First-Year BYU head coaches for most wins

Mark Pope (2019-20): 23-7*

Dave Rose (2005-06): 20-9

Steve Cleveland (1997-98): 9-21

Roger Reid (1989-90): 21-9

LaDell Andersen (1983-84): 20-11

Frank Arnold (1975-76): 12-14

Glenn Potter (1972-73): 19-7

Stan Watts (1949-50): 22-12

Floyd Millet (1941-42): 17-3

Pre-1941 no one had more than 20 wins

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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