(Photo by Wake Forest Photo)
PROVO, Utah -- BYU basketball coach Dave Rose announced today the hiring of Mark Pope as an assistant coach. The hiring completes Rose’s staff that includes Terry Nashif, Tim LaComb and Pope as assistants and Mike Hall as the program’s director of basketball operations.
“We are excited to have Mark join our staff,” Rose said. “He is one of the hardest working coaches in our business and we feel fortunate to have him come to BYU. His passion for the game is consistent with our existing staff and his experience as a player and a coach will bring great energy and excitement to our team.”
Pope comes to BYU after serving as an assistant for one season at Wake Forest under Jeff Bzdelik. He had previously served as the director of basketball operations at Georgia under Mark Fox during the 2009-10 season.
“I’m grateful to Coach Rose for the opportunity to be a part of BYU basketball,” Pope said. “It’s been fun to watch Coach Rose and his staff as they’ve built BYU into a great program. I can’t wait to get started and to help the team continue to be successful.”
A 6-foot-10 post player, Pope helped Kentucky claim the 1996 NCAA National Championship and enjoyed a nine-year professional career that included seven seasons in the NBA and two in Turkey. Pope was drafted in the second round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers.
Following the draft, Pope played his first season as a professional in Turkey for Efes Pilsen. He then played two seasons for the Indiana Pacers under head coach Larry Bird and helped the Pacers to the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals.
Pope split time between the La Crosse Bobcats of the CBA and Ulkerspor in Turkey in 1999-00. He returned to the NBA the next season, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks under head coach George Karl. In 2000-01, he started 45 games and helped the Bucks reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
After two seasons with the Bucks, Pope spent the 2002-03 season on injured reserve with the New York Knicks. He concluded his NBA career playing two seasons from 2003-05 with the Denver Nuggets.
Pope began his collegiate career playing for Washington. As a freshman in 1991-92 Pope earned Freshman of the Year honors after setting a Washington freshman single-season record with 8.1 rebounds per game. He earned All-Academic honors from the Pac 10 as a sophomore in 1992-93.
Following his sophomore season, Pope transferred to Kentucky where he played for Rick Pitino. After redshirting in 1993-94, Pope helped the Wildcats win back-to-back SEC titles, advance to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1995 and win the NCAA National Championship in 1996. He averaged 7.6 points and 5.2 rebounds and was a team captain during Kentucky’s championship season.
Pope earned Academic All-SEC honors in 1995 and graduated from Kentucky with a degree in English in 1996.
Before joining the basketball staff at Georgia, Pope completed two years of medical school at Columbia University in New York. He did much of his pre-med course work while playing in the NBA.
Pope and his wife Lee Anne have four daughters: Ella (10), Avery (8), Layla (6) and Shay (3). Lee Anne worked at ESPN before serving as David Letterman's personal assistant for four years.