BYU basketball coach Mark Pope signs contract extension that could keep him with Cougars through 2027

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Head coach for BYU Mark Pope yells to his team as BYU takes on UNLV in men's NCAA basketball at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Sat. Dec. 7, 2019.

On the eve of BYU’s 2020-21 men’s basketball season opener, the Cougars received some huge news: coach Mark Pope will be sticking around for awhile.

The second-year coach received a contract extension that could keep him on the BYU sidelines through the 2026-27 season.

Last season, his first as head coach at BYU, Pope led the Cougars to a 24-8 record — the most wins for a first-year coach in program history. The Cougars also recorded a historic win over No. 2 Gonzaga, jumped into the Top 25 for the first time since 2010-11 and were set to return to the NCAA Tournament.

It was only one season, but BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe says he saw enough to make a longer commitment to the young coach.

“Mark is a proven leader and a builder of strong teams that will continue to represent BYU well,” Holmoe said in a news release. “His unique abilities to recruit, develop and refine are the attributes any school would love for their coaches to possess, and we are so glad to have him here.”

Because of the impact the pandemic has had, through contract discussions, Pope elected to defer increased compensation in the new contract into future years.

“I love BYU, I love what this university stands for, I love Cougar Nation, and I love this team,” Pope said in the release. “I have never had an experience in my basketball career quite like last season. What we were able to accomplish, considering the circumstances we found ourselves in, was remarkable, and there’s so much more to come. This is a program where we can win, and win big. Lee Anne and I are filled with gratitude to announce this contract extension, and we’re just getting started.”