BYU Basketball Head Coach Search: Who Replaces Mark Pope?

Apr 12, 2024, 2:05 AM | Updated: Apr 15, 2024, 2:24 pm

PROVO, Utah – Where does BYU basketball go after Mark Pope lands the Kentucky job?

Anytime you search for a new head coach, it’s significant. This opening takes on historic significance for BYU as it signals their first head coach search in the Big 12 era.

The fact that this BYU job is now in a power conference makes it a more desirable position. However, BYU prefers to hire members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its head coach positions over football and the two basketball programs.

That shrinks your options.

Despite a limited pool of candidates, BYU has always been able to land high-level coaches for men’s basketball.

Dating back to when the legendary Stan Watts took over in 1949, all but one BYU head coach has reached the NCAA Tournament at least three times. The only coach that didn’t have three NCAA bids was Mark Pope. But he would have reached three if not for the COVID-19 pandemic taking away the 2020 tournament.

Mark Pope also showed that BYU can win in the Big 12. Last season, BYU won 23 games and reached the NCAA Tournament as a 6-seed before falling to Duquesne in the first round.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe is tasked with his third men’s basketball head coaching search during his tenure as AD in Provo, which dates back to 2005. His success rate on head coach hires in hoops has been excellent, landing Dave Rose in 2005 and then Mark Pope in 2019.

Who will be the third and perhaps last head coach Tom Holmoe hires as AD?

Let’s dive into the potential head coach candidates for this BYU basketball search.

The order is listed based on how we believe Tom Holmoe should construct the call list.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mark Madsen cuts BYU speculation with commitment to Cal

Mark Madsen | Cal Head Coach

Age: 48

Coaching History

2023-Present: Cal Head Coach

2019-2023: Utah Valley Head Coach

2013-2019: Los Angeles Lakers Assistant

2013: Los Angeles D-Fenders Head Coach

2012-2013: Stanford Assistant

2009-2010: Utah Flash Assistant

No one else on this board can match Mark Madsen’s resume in terms of college head coaching experience. He’s the only coach on this potential list of candidates with a background as a Power Conference head coach.

Madsen has strong ties to the Bay Area and is currently the head coach at Cal, which is set to compete in the ACC beginning next season.

He was 13-19 in his first season at Cal. It might seem like an underwhelming record on the surface, but it was the most wins in a season for the Golden Bears since 2020.

Madsen built up Utah Valley after Mark Pope left in 2019 and led them to an NIT Semifinals appearance in 2023, with a program-best No. 64 finish in KenPom that season.

The big potential hang-up for Madsen is his buyout. Madsen signed a contract extension that keeps him the head coach at Cal until 2030. Would BYU entertain a buyout for a head coach? They will likely get a buyout payday from Kentucky for Mark Pope.

Before Madsen’s contract extension, his buyout was at $4 million. It’s believed that went up after the extension.

Chris Burgess | Utah Assistant Coach

Age: 44

Coaching History

2022-Present: Utah Assistant

2019-2022: BYU Assistant

2015-2019: Utah Valley Assistant

2014-2015: Indian Hills Community College Assistant

2014: Salt Lake Community College Volunteer Assistant

2013-2014: Utah Student Assistant

One significant advantage for Chris Burgess over Mark Madsen is that Burgess has BYU coaching experience on his resume.

Burgess was an assistant coach under Mark Pope for three seasons before taking a job to be an assistant at his alma mater at Utah.

The former No. 1 overall recruit as a player in the class of 1997 played at Duke and Utah.

Pope and Burgess share similarities. He’s a big man who can coach post-players. Like Pope, Burgess played for legendary coaches in his college basketball career, with Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and the late great Rick Majerus at Utah.

Burgess was aggressive as a recruiter during his time at BYU. Before the pandemic, Burgess was active in international recruiting. He has strong ties to the recruiting scene in Utah and was part of BYU’s recruitment of four-star combo guard Collin Chandler out of Farmington, who returns home from his Latter-day Saint mission next month.

Burgess has also coached or been part of the recruitments for players who could be part of BYU’s program next season in Trevin Knell, Richie Saunders, Atiki Ally Atiki, and others.

Barret Peery | UNLV Assistant Coach

Age: 53

Coaching History

2022-Present: UNLV Assistant

2021-2022: Texas Tech Associate Head Coach

2017-2021: Portland State Head Coach

2016-2017: Santa Clara Associate Head Coach

2014-2015: Arizona State Assistant

2011-2014: Indian Hills Community College Head Coach

2008-2011: Utah Assistant

2005-2008: College of Southern Idaho Head Coach

2003-2005: College of Southern Idaho Assistant

2002-2003: Portland State Assistant

1998-2002: Southern Utah Assistant

1997-1998: UVSC Assistant

1996-1997: Snow College Assistant

1995-1996: Southern Utah Assistant

Barret Peery might not be a common name to BYU fans, but he’s well-known in basketball circles. Peery was a strong candidate in the BYU basketball head coach search in 2019, ultimately leading to Mark Pope being hired as BYU’s headman.

Peery is a Payson, Utah native who has head coach experience from his time at Portland State in Division I and JUCO stops at Indian Hills C.C. and College of Southern Idaho.

Along with head coaching experience, Peery has one year under his belt in the Big 12 Conference, where he was at Texas Tech as an associate head coach.

Peery’s teams played an uptempo-style brand of basketball that featured full-court pressure.

K.C. Beard | Houston

Age: 41

Coaching History

2023-Present: Houston Assistant

2022-2023: Houston Special Assistant to the Head Coach

2021-2022: Houston Assistant Coach

2014-2021: Houston Video Coordinator

2013-2014: Utah Jazz Video Intern

2013: Canadian National Team Video Coordinator

2011-2013: Portland Trail Blazers Video Intern

2011: Pacific (Ore.) Assistant

2009-2011: West Texas A&M Assistant

2008-2009: SMU Video Coordinator

K.C. Beard is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has Big 12 coaching experience at the program that sits atop the league at the moment in Houston.

Beard’s primary history in coaching has been as a video coordinator. But it’s happened before in coaching where a once video coordinator rose to the head coaching ranks; think of Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra as an example.

There would probably have to be some “no’s” from the previous three candidates listed to get the phone lines buzzing for Beard.

Kevin Young | Phoenix Suns Assistant Coach

Age: 42

Coaching History

2021-Present: Phoenix Suns Associate Head Coach

2020-2021: Phoenix Suns Assistant

2016-2020: Philadelphia 76ers Assistant

2014-2016: Delaware 87ers Head Coach

2013-2014: Delaware 87ers Assistant

2011-2013: Iowa Energy Head Coach

2010-2011: Utah Flash Head Coach

2009-2010: Utah Flash Assistant

2008-2009: Oxford College Assistant

2007-2008: Utah Valley State Assistant

Young, a Utah native, has a coaching resume primarily in the NBA and G-League (formerly the NBA Developmental League). He’s an associate head coach of a franchise that features Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal.

But at the same time, if you’re BYU, that would be the type of coach who could get recruits’ attention by saying he’s worked with superstars like that.

It’s hard to picture NBA coaches willingly jumping into the wild world of college basketball recruiting these days.

Quincy Lewis | Lehi High School

Coaching History

2020-Present: Lehi High School Head Coach

2015-2019: BYU Assistant

2003-2015: Lone Peak High School Head Coach

2002-2003: Southern Utah Assistant

1997-2002: Utah Valley State College Assistant

1995-1997: BYU-Hawaii Assistant

Quincy Lewis has been a star at the high school ranks in Utah for nearly two decades. Lewis led Lehi High School to a State Championship this past season.

The four-year BYU basketball assistant under Dave Rose also had a legendary run at Lone Peak High School. He helped lead the Knights to a National Championship in 2013.

Going from high school to the battles of the Big 12 sounds like too big of a leap. However, Lewis’ accomplishments in Utah County deserve a mention on this list and potentially a call from Holmoe.

Cody Fueger | BYU Assistant Coach

*Non-LDS candidate

Coaching History

2019-Present: BYU Assistant

2015-2019: Utah Valley Assistant

2013-2015: BYU Director of Basketball Operations

2012-2013: Utah State Director of Basketball Operations

2011-2012: UC Riverside Director of Basketball Operations

2007-2011: Louisiana Tech Director of Basketball Operations

2002-2007: Utah Video Coordinator

BYU has stated that it is not required to hire a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as head coach. However, history has shown that they hire members of the Church for the marquee head coach positions in football, men’s, and women’s basketball.

If they went against tradition, BYU assistant Cody Fueger deserves a call.

Mark Pope could already be assembling his staff in Kentucky with Fueger in mind. However, the five-year BYU assistant under Pope and former Director of Basketball Ops for Dave Rose knows BYU inside and out and seems poised to be a head coach at some point in his coaching career.

Other names to consider: Nick Robinson, BYU assistant; Alex Jensen, Dallas Mavericks Assistant; Paul Peterson, Wasatch Academy Head Coach; Andrew May, Snow College Head Coach.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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 Head Coach Search: Who Replaces Mark Pope?