Provo • BYU basketball coach Dave Rose, who turned 60 last December and overcame cancerous tumors and spots on his pancreas in 2009 and 2013, has shown no signs of slowing down, assistant coach Tim LaComb said last week.
Rose said Wednesday he feels as good as he ever has.
“I will have a scan in the spring and hopefully go for another six months [without cancer],” he said. “That’s how I have lived my life for the last 10 years, and right now I feel great.”
Rose signed a five-year contract extension in 2015 that will take him through the 2019-20 season. He’s done or said nothing to indicate that he doesn’t plan on staying at BYU for at least two more years. And those close to him say they’d be surprised if he steps down before his contract expires.
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But that day will inevitably come, and many have wondered who would replace him if the 13th-year coach decides to call it a career in the near future. What is certain is that it is a very shallow candidate pool.
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe reiterated in January that head coaches at BYU must be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so the applicant pool perhaps is smaller than for any job in NCAA Division I basketball.
With that in mind, here are some candidates:
• Utah Valley coach Mark Pope. An assistant at BYU from 2011-15, Pope is in his third year at UVU, where the Wolverines are 20-9 overall, 9-4 in the WAC.
• Dixie State coach Jon Judkins. The brother of BYU women’s coach Jeff Judkins has one of the best records in the state right now at the Division II school. The Trailblazers are 21-6 overall, 18-2 in conference and have won 15 straight games.
• Portland State coach Barret Peery. Former Payson High, Snow College and Southern Utah star and University of Utah assistant has the Vikings (18-11, 8-8) in sixth place in the Big Sky Conference after an impressive start.
• Utah Jazz assistant Alex Jensen. Former Ute standout has few ties to BYU other than being a Cougars’ fan growing up and being LDS, and might not want to leave a promising career in the pro ranks.
• Los Angeles Lakers assistant Mark Madsen. Former Stanford star is in his fifth season with the Lakers but has expressed interest before in coaching at BYU some day.
• Utah State assistant Spencer Nelson. Former Aggie great is in his second season on the USU bench after a 10-year professional career overseas, but he might need more seasoning as an assistant, just like BYU’s LaComb and Lewis.
Rose spoke during his coach’s show Tuesday night and again Wednesday to media about how proud he is of this team, although outsiders feel like the program has been in a rut. BYU is the third seed for the WCC tournament for the third-straight year.
Asked if this season and the addition to the coaching staff of Heath Schroyer, his longtime friend, has re-energized him in regards to his long-term plans, Rose mostly deferred.
“I just get a little irritated at times when people don’t respect what these guys have done. That’s it,” he said.
The LDS rule means Schroyer won’t be a candidate, although he is by far the most experienced assistant because he has been a head coach at Portland State, Wyoming and the University of Tennessee at Martin.
LaComb and fellow assistant Quincy Lewis are LDS but haven’t been head coaches at the collegiate level and probably won’t be serious candidates for a few more years.
Holmoe was asked by a student reporter in January if he is “aggressively preparing” for Rose’s departure from the program.
“I am not aggressive at all. I think that I am well aware of where he’s at,” Holmoe said. “This has been a really good, resurgent year. Dave is in a position where I think, between the two of us, we will discuss that when the time comes. But it is not now.”