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BYU Basketball Assistant Kahil Fennell Lands Head Coach Job

Apr 5, 2024, 1:50 PM | Updated: 1:56 pm

Kahil Fennell, BYU Basketball, UTRGV...

BYU basketball is losing assistant coach Kahil Fennell, as he takes the head coach job at UTRGV. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

(Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball assistant coach Kahil Fennell will be a head coach next season.

Fennell will be the head coach at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. The Vaqueros play in the Western Athletic Conference and will face programs such as Utah Valley and Utah Tech.

Fennell was on BYU’s staff for two seasons.

Kahil Fennell will be the head coach at UTRGV

Fennell became BYU’s defensive coordinator this past season during the Cougars’ first year in the Big 12 Conference. BYU finished No. 60 in adjusted efficiency metrics on defense last season.

But until mid-February, BYU was a Top 25 defense, with Fennell overseeing those efforts.

Despite low expectations for BYU in their inaugural Big 12 campaign, BYU reached the NCAA Tournament. It was BYU’s first bid to the Big Dance since 2021.

“Kahil is one of the most innovative and creative coaches I have ever interviewed, and I believe his unique approach will lead to tremendous success for our basketball program,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey said on hiring Fennell. “Additionally, Kahil possesses an exceptional ability to communicate, a skill crucial not only for his coaching duties but also in engaging with our community and rallying the Valley behind our athletics program. With Kahil’s leadership, I have no doubt that we will see success both on and off the basketball court.”

BYU basketball coach Mark Pope congratulates Fennell

BYU head coach Mark Pope, who hired Fennell after a previous stint as an assistant at Louisville, is currently at the Final Four in Phoenix this weekend. Pope issued a statement on Fennell landing the UTRGV job.

“I’m so excited for Kahil and the opportunity he has as the head coach at UTRGV,” said Pope. “His fingerprints are all over the success that we have had as a program over the past two seasons. Kahil, Sarah, Ezra and Koa were instrumental in our wildly successful journey into Big 12 where we finished fifth in the toughest men’s basketball conference in the country and returned to the NCAA Tournament. This is a great opportunity for him and I look forward to his future success.”

Fennell began his coaching career in Texas at UT Permian Basin, a Division II program, where he reached associate head coach status. Fennell helped Permian Basin reach the NCAA Division II Tournament.

The departure of Fennell leaves one opening on Mark Pope’s assistant coach staff. He currently has tenured assistants Cody Fueger and Nick Robinson. Collin Terry completed his first season as an assistant with the program this past year.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Basketball Assistant Kahil Fennell Lands Head Coach Job