BYU hires Utah Valley's Pope as new head coach

BYU has hired Utah Valley's Mark Pope as its next head coach, the school announced Wednesday afternoon.

Pope, 46, replaces Dave Rose, who stepped down last month after 14 seasons in charge of the Cougars.

"This place is like nowhere else," Pope said. "It is a beacon on a hill and it is such an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to be the head men's basketball coach here at BYU. I couldn't be more proud or more excited. There is a standard of excellence here in everything that happens on this campus."

Pope plans to recruit and schedule aggressively at BYU. He faces the expectations of trying to raise up a program that hasn't won a conference title since joining the West Coast Conference in 2011 and hasn't earned an NCAA Tournament berth since 2015.

"We'll be fearless in everything we do," Pope said. "We'll take our lumps and we'll jump back off the mat and, with confidence, go on to the next battle. Our team will be a team that's not afraid of failure."

After a college career at Washington and Kentucky, where he won a national championship in 1996, Pope spent seven seasons playing in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets. He moved to coaching in 2009, joining Mark Fox's staff at Georgia before going to Wake Forest for one season. Rose then hired him at BYU, where he spent four seasons as an assistant coach.

In Pope's four seasons as the head coach at Utah Valley, the Wolverines went 77-56 overall, including a 34-24 record in the WAC. They finished second in the league in each of the past two seasons and won a combined 48 games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.