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Mark Pope Named as New Kentucky Basketball Coach

Mark Pope has been appointed the new Kentucky basketball coach. Notably, he served as the 1996 national championship squad captain and has successfully led the BYU basketball program for the past five seasons. His selection comes after several candidates turned down the offer, a testament to his exceptional qualifications.

new kentucky basketball coachKentucky did not announce the agreement's details. However, sources informed a preferred sportsbook pay per head on Thursday that the parties were nearing the end of a five-year pact.

Pope takes over for the departing Hall of Fame coach John Calipari, who left for the Arkansas Razorbacks last week following fifteen seasons in Lexington. Under Calipari's direction, the Wildcats made it to the Final Four of the March Madness Tournament no less than four times and won the title in 2012.

Pope coached the BYU Cougars for five seasons, during which time they were 110–52 and made it to two NCAA tournaments. They went 23-11 in their inaugural year of the Big 12 in 2023–24, which was better than anybody had anticipated. They tied for fifth place in the conference.

New Kentucky Basketball Coach

Pope coached Utah Valley for four years before his 2019 appointment at BYU. Under Pope, the Wolverines went 48-21 overall and 22-8 in league play, although they never won the regular season championship.

Without a single regular-season or conference tournament title to his credit, Pope brings very little high-level success to his nine years as head coach. Both his teams' first-round NCAA tournament defeats were against 11-seeds, as 6-seeds vs 11-seeds: in 2021 against UCLA and last month against Duquesne.

Pope spent seven years as an NBA player after assisting the Wildcats win the 1996 national title. Before joining Mark Fox's Georgia team in 2009, he spent two years in medical school at Columbia University. Pope then worked as an assistant coach at Wake Forest for a year and at BYU for four years under Dave Rose's tutelage.

Following earlier rejections of the position by Scott Drew of Baylor and Dan Hurley of UConn, Kentucky, and Barnhart shifted their focus to Pope on Thursday night. Nate Oats of Alabama and Jay Wright, formerly of Villanova, stated they were uninterested in the position. On the other hand, Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls stated he was fully dedicated to his team and hadn't communicated with Kentucky.

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