Mark Pope Posts Impressive Record Through First 50 Games As BYU Head Coach

Jan 31, 2021, 1:46 PM | Updated: 1:46 pm
Mark Pope - BYU Basketball...
BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope coaching up his players. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – Mark Pope inherited a BYU basketball program that already had a winning culture. BYU is one of the 20 winningest programs in college basketball history.

The challenge for Pope was to take a winning program to an even higher level due to being in a league with powerhouse Gonzaga. Through 50 games as head coach, Mark Pope has built on the winning culture in BYU basketball.

The former Kentucky Wildcat and NBA big man is 38-12 overall through 50 games as BYU’s head coach. It’s the second-best 50-game record by any BYU basketball head coach in program history. Just one game behind E.L. Roberts, who still holds the record at 39-11 from 1911-1916. Yes, that’s not a typo. Roberts set the record over 100 years ago. You have to go back deep into the BYU archives to find a 50-game start to a head coaching career.

What’s even more impressive with Pope’s first 50 games is that he has yet to lose back-to-back contests. Each of the 12 losses was followed up with bounceback victories. Only Houston (last back-to-back losses were in 2016-17) and Gonzaga (2018-19) have longer stretches without back-to-back losses, and Pope has victories through his first 50 contests against both of those programs.

Pope jokingly said after his 50th game, a win over Pacific in double overtime, “I’m always just trying to find a way for it to not be my last game as coach. If I can get through it and not have it be my last game, I’m super proud of that.”

Mark Pope ranks 2nd among BYU basketball head coaches through 50 games

1. E.L. Roberts: 39-11 (1911-16)

2. Mark Pope: 38-12 (2019-21)

3. G. Ott Romney: 37-13 (1928-30)

T-4. Alvin Twitchell: 36-14 (1920-24)

T-4. Floyd Millet: 36-14 (1941-44)

6. Dave Rose: 35-15 (2005-07)

7. Stan Watts: 34-16 (1949-51)

T-8. Ladell Andersen: 32-18 (1983-85)

T-8. Roger Reid: 32-18 (1989-91)

10. Edwin Kimball: 29-21 (1938-40)

11. Glenn Potter: 28-22 (1972-74)

12. Frank Arnold: 22-28 (1975-77)

13. Steve Cleveland: 17-33 (1997-99)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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