Mark Pope Gives Praise To Kalani Sitake For Recent BYU Sports Renaissance

Nov 30, 2021, 1:34 PM
Mark Pope - Kalani Sitake...
BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope and football coach Kalani Sitake. (Photos courtesy of Deseret News)
(Photos courtesy of Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope made a national radio appearance on the Jim Rome Show on Tuesday. One of the topics discussed was BYU’s “No-Loss November.”

The third-year head coach brought it up to Rome after being asked by Rome, “how would you describe the juice, the vibe, the buzz, and the energy around the program right now?”

Pope responded, “It’s a little bit of a renaissance here at BYU right now. So if you think about it, football ranked number 12 in the country. Men’s basketball ranked number 12. Women’s basketball ranked number 21. We just won going away the men’s and women’s cross country national championships. Our women’s soccer team is in the Final Four this weekend. Our women’s volleyball, I mean every single team on this campus right now. Jim, think about this. In the month of November, not one single BYU athletic team lost one single match. So it’s super fun right now. There’s a lot of juice, baby. It’s fun.”

BYU’s “No-Loss November” saw the Cougar athletic programs post a perfect 29-0 record that included Pope’s basketball team opening the season 6-0 with wins over Pac-12 foes Oregon and Utah.

But Pope, when asked by Rome to explain what’s in the water in Provo to produce those kinds of results, he had to give some love to Kalani Sitake’s football program.

“Listen, you know, in all of college sports, the tide rises with football and what Kalani Sitake is doing here at BYU Football right now is so fun. And the juice is so high. It’s not just that he’s winning big, but it’s the way he’s doing it. You can just feel the energy kind of flowing throughout campus. All of us benefit from it.”

Sitake’s football program completed a second consecutive 10-win regular season by taking down USC in the LA Coliseum. They finished the year with a 6-1 record against Power Five opponents.

“He’s unbelievable,” said Pope when asked by Rome if Sitake has an active interest in the other teams on campus. “Just this little head coaches consortium we have here is really great. We have so many talented coaches and, of course, incredible athletes here. And Kalani is a functional voice for all of us. He certainly is so excited about spreading the joy. We’re not living in silos in this athletic department, so it makes it a really special place to work.”

Pope, Sitake, and the rest of the BYU athletic department will now look to piece together a perfect December together. The 12th ranked BYU basketball team returns to action Wednesday night at Utah Valley University in Orem at 7 p.m. (BYUtv, KSL NewsRadio).

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.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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