NCAA basketball

Kentucky targeting BYU's Mark Pope as John Calipari replacement: Reports

The move comes a few days after Calipari left for Arkansas.

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The Wildcats seem set to bring in a Cougar.

Kentucky reportedly is closing in on the hire of BYU's Mark Pope as its next men's basketball coach, multiple reports said Thursday.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports first broke Pope's candidacy for the Kentucky role earlier on Thursday prior to the current development.

The 51-year-old Pope would replace John Calipari, who served as Kentucky's head coach for 15 seasons but recently left for Arkansas.

After playing collegiately at Washington from 1991-93, Pope joined Kentucky from 1994-96. He was a two-year starter and team captain who played a role in the Wildcats' 1996 national championship.

Pope has been BYU's head coach since 2019, owning a 110-52 (67.9%) win-loss record. The 2023-24 season was BYU's first in the Big 12 conference, and the Cougars went 23-11.

BYU, which entered the 2024 men's NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed, was upset in the first round by No. 11 Duquesne.

In nine seasons as a head coach, Pope does not yet have any regular-season or conference-tournament titles. He also does not have a NCAA tournament win to his name.

Pope previously worked as an assistant coach with Georgia (2009-10), Wake Forest (2010-11) and BYU (2011-15) before getting his first head-coaching gig with Utah Valley.

Pope also played in the NBA after being a No. 52 overall pick by the Indiana Pacers in the 1996 draft. Along with a few overseas stints, he played for the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets.

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