Source: YouTube

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WAVE) – Mark Pope will be the next head coach for the Kentucky men’s basketball program.


This was officially announced Friday morning by UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.

Pope was a captain of the Kentucky Wildcats’ 1996 National Championship team. He returns to Lexington as the 23rd head coach of the team.

He’s a nine-year head coaching veteran with stops at Brigham Young University and Utah Valley with a 187-108 career record. His teams won 20 or more games in six of the last seven seasons and made six postseason appearances.

“Mark Pope not only brings an impressive record in nine years as a head coach, but also a love of the University of Kentucky and a complete understanding of what our program means to the people of our state,” Barnhart said in the announcement. “As a captain on the ‘96 championship team, Mark was a beloved and respected teammate. As a head coach, he is highly regarded nationally as an innovator. His teams run a unique and dynamic up-tempo offense and they get after it on defense. He is a strong recruiter with international ties and a person of integrity.”

“He fully embraces our high expectations and standards and I know that as our fans get reacquainted with Mark, they will be eager to join him on what promises to be an exciting ride,” Barnhart continued.

It was announced on Wednesday by Arkansas Athletics that John Calipari, who was the head coach of Kentucky for the past 15 seasons, would become the next leader of the basketball program.

“The University of Kentucky is the pinnacle of coaching in college basketball. It’s the definition of blueblood program where hanging a banner is the expectation ever year,” Pope said in the announcement. “Equally as important, UK changed my life forever as a human being. The love and passion I have for this program, this University and the people of the Commonwealth goes to the depth of my soul.

“I’m thankful to Dr. (Eli) Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart for this opportunity,” Pope continued. “I’m proud to be your next head coach and I can’t wait to do this together!”

Pope and his wife, Lee Anne, have four daughters, Ella, Avery Layla and Shay. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1996 with a degree in English.

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