Utah Jazz assistant Alex Jensen interviews for head coaching position at BYU

With application deadline set for April 9 and several candidates attending coaches convention this weekend at Final Four in Minneapolis, hiring doesn’t appear to be imminent

Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen, a former standout at the University of Utah and Viewmont High, has interviewed for the vacant head men's basketball coaching position at BYU, although his interest in the job is not high.

Provo Utah Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen interviewed for the vacant BYU basketball head coaching position last Saturday, several sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed Tuesday.

Tony Jones of The Athletic first reported Monday night on Twitter that the interview took place last weekend.

The hiring of a replacement for 14-year coach Dave Rose, who retired last week, does not appear to be imminent, however.

Most observers believe that because BYU has listed April 9 on its employment openings board and LinkedIn page as the date it will stop accepting applications for a head men’s basketball coach, it will not make an announcement before then, per school employment policy.

Jensen, a former University of Utah standout who coached under recent Hall of Fame inductee Rick Majerus at Saint Louis before moving on to the NBA and its developmental league, is considered a viable candidate for the BYU job because he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the faith that owns and operates BYU.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said when Bronco Mendenhall resigned as football coach in 2015 that head coaches of all BYU sports must be LDS Church members in good standing, which was interpreted to mean the coach must have a current temple recommend.

Assistant coaches do not need to be church members, but must agree to abide by the school’s Honor Code.

Jensen’s interest in the position was reported to be lukewarm last week when Rose retired. However, his acceptance of an interview offer is seen as a positive sign from select boosters who are pushing the school to hire the former Viewmont High star.

Utah Valley coach Mark Pope, who is also an LDS Church member, remains BYU’s primary target, sources say. Pope was considered an outside candidate for the openings at UNLV and Washington State, but those positions have been filled.

Pope and his coaching staff, which includes former BYU basketball director of operations Cody Fueger, former Utah and Duke player Chris Burgess and Eric Daniels, son of former Utah assistant Donny Daniels, will be traveling Thursday night to the 2019 NABC Convention at the Final Four in Minneapolis this weekend.

Portland State coach Barett Peery, Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen and BYU interim coach Quincy Lewis, Rose’s assistant the past four years, are also considered candidates, although it was not clear as of Tuesday afternoon whether any of those men had formally interviewed for the position.

Sources say another potential candidate, Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Kevin Young, has told the school he is not interested at the current time.

A potential darkhorse for the position is Wasatch Academy basketball coach David Evans, a former Lone Peak High coach who has also interviewed, according to one published report. National powerhouse Wasatch Academy’s roster includes BYU signee Bernardo Da Silva and several BYU recruiting targets such as 6-foot-9 power forward Mady Sissoko, 6-4 guard Richie Saunders (a former all-stater at Riverton High) and Caleb Lohner, a 6-foot-7 LDS shooting guard from Flower Mound, Texas.