If Pope leaves BYU, is Burgess the next HC?

My guess is yes. That can’t help Utah.

Are there rumors out there that Pope is leaving?

Also, given the expectations of the typical zoob, they think that Danny Ainge or Bill Self will jump at the chance to coach there. For reference, remember they thought that Andy Reid would jump at the chance to coach there.

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No one is talking about him going anywhere, and it is way early for the NCAA MBB coaching carousel to begin its calliope music.

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He has been rumored to be the top choice for UW, who fired their HC yesterday.

Burgess could be in play. But there would be much hand wringing by the zoobs if they hired a (gasp) assistant from Utah

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I doubt it. While Sitake didn’t go directly from Utah, he made his name as an assistant at Utah.

Burgess would have to be one of their main targets, how many LDS coaching options are there?

Madsen at Cal is LDS. I don’t think he’ll be there forever. After Craig Smith he’d be a good catch for Utah. I don’t think any lateral hire to Utah is possible, however, given the sad state of our program. I’d hate to see him at BYU, but why would he go there?

As for Pope, BYU was once thought to be the pinnacle career spot for an LDS head coach. That era ended in basketball after Frank Arnold (maybe after Steve Cleveland) and in football after Bronco.

I doubt BYU would elevate an assistant (Burgess) to its head coach position.

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Must the next coach be LDS?

I assume so. Maybe not.

Madsen has done a great job at Cal.

If Burgess is the one responsible for Keita’s improvement that is a plus, but I still can’t get over that he coached Hunter Erickson at BYU & then recruited him or at least recommended him for the Utes.
Plus one of his main reasons to move from BYU to the Utes is that his daughter plays volleyball for the Utes.

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P.S. Utes only a 4 point underdog at Oregon’s senior day—give the 4 & bet the house on the Ducks to cover.

Ducks by at least double digits.

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I will be stunned if Utah wins and surpised if this is less than a double-digit win for Oregon. Sorry, I am very down on the team after Thursday. And I am growing weary of Smith.


if Pope leaves, which I doubt, I would expect BYU to make a push for Burgess and that he’ll give it serious consideration. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are two basic types of successful coaches: Builders and sustainers. Knowing which type a given coach is can help predict the likelihood of him leaving.

Vince Lombardi was the consummate builder. He took over a 1-10-1 Packer team and had them in the NFL championship game in his second year, winning the first of five titles in year 3. After 9 years and 5 titles, he was burned out and left for Washington. That’s what builders do. They specialize in turning around dumpster fires but typically move on once they’ve achieved that because they lose interest or need another challenge to stay motivated.

Bronco was a builder and surprised me by staying 11 years. I think he’ll do well at UNM. Urban was a superb builder and didn’t stay anywhere for a long time. It’s the nature of the their character.

Conversely, sustainers take a lot longer to achieve success. However, once they do, they can keep it going for a long time. If Tom Landry hadn’t had long term support from the Cowboys owner (Clint Murchison) and management, he would have been another forgotten name on the scrap heap of mediocre (or worse) coaches. The same is true with Lavell. If Gary Sheide hadn’t led his third team to 7 straight wins and a WAC title, after starting 0-3-1, he probably would have been fired the next year, due to how poorly his second and fourth years were.

Kyle is a sustainer and has done remarkably well. He said that he opted to stay at Utah in part because it offered better prospects for long term success. I respect that and applaud his awareness of his strengths and weaknesses. Had he been a builder, he would have likely chosen a greater challenge elsewhere.

I think Craig Smith is a sustainer, which is unfortunate because Utah needed a builder to fix the problems he inherited. Similarly, I think Mark Pope is a sustainer and possible lifer for BYU, as is Kalani. That’s a major reason why I don’t think he’ll leave for UW or another similar job. He’s coaching in the best basketball conference in the country and loves what he’s doing.

However, if I’m wrong, I won’t be surprised to see Chris Burgess named as his replacement.

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I suspect BYU would take a run at Burgess if Pope leaves. I also suspect he’d be on the short list if Smith is cut loose.

But for the life of me I don’t get why BYU would make Kalani a lifer. He’s been mediocre, and will likely always be mediocre. But not my worry I guess.

I would be, simply because Burgess hasn’t been a head coach. But we will see what happens.

When Smith is fired, I don’t see Burgess getting the job at Utah. Not that he wouldn’t be good but usually when a coach is fired the AD wants to clean house and start over.


Sitake was an assistant. BYU was his first HC gig.

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Thanks for the reminder. I was thinking basketball. Is there a difference between football and basketball in the elevation of assistants? I’m wondering.

Going way back, Jerry Pimm was Jack Gardner’s assistant, and then Bill Foster’s. before he came head coach, I think. Stan Watts, was succeeded by one of his assistants, I don’t remember the guy’s name. Seems like Frank Arnold had been an assistant at UCLA right before taking to BYU job. I also don’t remember if Lynn Archibald was an assistant at Utah before he became head coach. But I think, and I could be wrong, that it is very rare for an assistant basketball coach at a D1 school to be elevated to head coach.

In football it seems easier. Kyle was an assistant to Urban Meyer, whom he succeeded. I don’t think Ron McBride was a head coach anywhere before he got the top job at Utah. Wasn’t Lavelle an assistant at BYU before he took the head job?

Anyway, I don’t think the history proves my point. In the present day it just seems unlikely to me that BYU would replace Pope with Burgess, not because Burgess doesn’t have the talent to be a head coach, but because he has no track record. My bias has always been that Utah’s basketball head coaches should be succeeded by someone who’s actually run a program at another school. Giac and Boylen were examples of how elevating an assistant can go wrong In the modern era.

I could be wrong about this, and maybe my long-standing Ute fan PTSD is influencing my thinking.

Giac was a two time HC before arriving at Utah. Eastern Washington and NDSU

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