Provo • BYU officials are close to naming a men’s head basketball coach to replace Dave Rose, and indications remain strong that Utah Valley coach Mark Pope is the front-runner for the vacant position.
BYU has completed the interview process and would like to have a new coach in place by the middle of next week, if not sooner, sources say.
Pope, 46, remains at the top of BYU’s wish list, as has been widely reported. His interest in BYU and whether he wants the job is not as clear, although multiple sources have confirmed that he has interviewed for the position and one source said he wowed BYU officials with his preparation and vision for the program that plateaued the past few years under Rose.
Pope has not returned phone calls asking for comment. He has told several people that the decision is a difficult one, because he expects to have an outstanding team at UVU next year if he stays, one that could challenge New Mexico State for WAC supremacy.
It is also no secret that Pope has interest in some day moving higher up the college coaching ladder than BYU.
If Pope is taken out of the equation, the top remaining candidates are Los Angeles Lakers assistant Mark Madsen, Portland State head coach Barett Peery, Philadelphia 76ers assistant Kevin Young and BYU assistant Quincy Lewis, who was named interim coach when Rose stepped down on March 26.
Madsen’s mother, Erlyn, confirmed Thursday that her son is “very interested” in the BYU opening. She strongly refuted published reports that Mark Madsen interviewed for a position on Rose’s staff last spring, calling those reports “not true at all,” and declined further comment.
The Deseret News reported Thursday that Madsen met with BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe and deputy athletic director Brian Santiago in Los Angeles last weekend.
Madsen, 43, is from Walnut Creek, Calif., served a church mission to Spain and starred at Stanford before he was drafted in the first round by the Lakers. He played in the NBA for nine seasons with the Lakers and Timberwolves. He has been an assistant coach with the Utah Flash of the NBA Developmental League and with Stanford. He joined the Lakers staff in 2013.
If Pope becomes BYU’s head coach, Madsen quite likely becomes one of the top candidates to replace him at UVU. Madsen’s parents and in-laws live in Utah County.
Portland State coach Barett Peery interviewed for the BYU job on Monday, multiple sources confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune. Peery, 47, has been PSU’s head coach the past two seasons and has compiled a 36-30 record. He coached at College of Southern Idaho from 2005-08, compiling an 85-19 record, and was also head coach at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, from 2011-2014, where he was 96-10.
Peery is from Payson, Utah and has been an assistant coach at Arizona State (2014-15) and Santa Clara (2016-17). Peery brought his Vikings team to Provo last December and lost 85-66 to the Cougars in the Marriott Center. He played at Snow College and Southern Utah before embarking on a coaching career that also took him to the University of Utah in 2008.
Reached by telephone earlier this week, Peery declined to comment on BYU’s coaching search.
Young, 37, has the backing of former BYU great Danny Ainge.
He is from Marietta, Ga., and his wife, Melissa Bailey Young, is from Omaha, Neb., but they were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 2011, according to his Wikipedia page.
Young was an assistant coach with the Utah Flash from 2007-11 and also worked for the Iowa Energy and the Delaware 87ers.
Sources close to Utah Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, a former University of Utah star who has been with the Jazz since 2013, said Thursday that Jensen wants it to be known that he is not a candidate for the BYU job. Jensen did discuss the opening with BYU athletic department administrators last Saturday, as The Salt Lake Tribune reported, but the talks did not progress beyond that.