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BYU coach Dave Rose's thoughts on 2013-14 season, and more
I still remember one of the first times reporters talked to BYU coach Dave Rose last fall. I turned to one of my colleagues after the interview and remarked that Rose just didn't look himself. The colleague agreed.
Rose looked thin and emaciated. His voice was a bit weak and it looked like he was really tired after that practice in October.
Turns out, we were probably on to something.
Rose admitted to me yesterday in a 30-minute interview in his office at the Marriott Center that he had not fully recovered from his surgery on Sept. 9 to remove cancerous tumors on his pancreas when the season began.<
You can read more about how difficult the recently completed season was on Rose — physically and emotionally — in this piece on the Tribune's website.
"Yeah, it was," Rose said, when I asked him if this season any more taxing on him that his previous eight. "There was a stretch there where we …I don't know if it was so much the number of games, but the number of days we went through. We got beat on a Saturday [by Utah], then beat on another Saturday [by Oregon], and then went to the next Saturday and Monday and got beat [by LMU and Pepperdine].
So the calendars days were long. You feel like you have got the makings of a pretty good team, and you just want to change it. You don't think you are going to be 8-7 going into the new year.
I think that a lot of the unknown at that time was tough. We were asking, 'what can we do?'. We were looking for the answer, and wondering how will guys perform.
I think that's why. All teams are really special, and the journey that you experience with that group of guys is always special. You just bring up a name, and I can tell you some great things about that year and the hard times and the times you remember. This one will always stand out, because it was something we had never been through before, and it ended in an NCAA Tournament appearance, which I think has to be considered successful no matter where you coach, or who you are playing."
Rose said his assistants — Tim LaComb, Mark Pope and Terry Nashif — were "all-stars" in the beginning of the season, and helped him through the recuperation process. So I asked him if he is happy with them and how they performed the entire season.
"Well, I think that, I actually feel the responsibility to help these guys achieve their own personal and professional goals, and I think so much of that comes as a result of success with your program. I think the group that I have is as good as any in the country, and I rely on them as much, or probably more, than most head coaches do, and they all have their really important responsibilities, and I have empowered them to do their thing.
I am really pleased with how they all perform. I think at times maybe if I am juggling things around, it is just for them to help them grow and to progress.
I think for the most part, this is a pretty cohesive staff, and most of the decisions that are made in recruiting, actually game-coaching and game preparation, were made as a group. Everybody has pretty good input on how we are going to move forward as a program.
I don't see any real need for any big changes."
Since my colleagues on the beat talked to Rose on Monday (I was traveling and unable to fill a time slot that day) and had already reported his answers to questions such as the scholarship crunch and his assessment of the season, I tried to go in a different direction — such as the questions about his future and his health, his desire to see a basketball practice facility built, his contact with Jabari Parker since the prep superstar chose Duke over BYU and others, and more.