BYU coach Mark Pope in talks with Kentucky to succeed John Calipari, reports say

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — BYU coach Mark Pope was negotiating with Kentucky to succeed John Calipari, multiple outlets reported Thursday night.

Pope, who played for Kentucky’s 1996 national championship team and was co-captain for two seasons, was close to finalizing a deal, CBS Sports reported, citing anonymous sources. ESPN, also citing anonymous sources, also reported that an an agreement with Pope was expected.

Earlier Thursday, Scott Drew announced on social media that he was staying with Baylor, eliminating one potential candidate for the Wildcats job. UConn’s Dan Hurley, who led the Huskies to their second consecutive national title on Monday night, also turned down Kentucky.

Calipari stepped down on Tuesday after 15 years. The Hall of Famer, who led the Wildcats to the 2012 national championship, said the program needed to “hear another voice.” He was hired as Arkansas’ coach on Wednesday.

The 51-year-old Pope is 110-52 in five seasons with the Cougars and has led them to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including this season, when BYU finished 23-11 while playing in the Big 12 Conference for the first time. He went 77-52 in four seasons at Utah Valley after working as an assistant at Wake Forest and Georgia.

Pope led Kentucky with 6.3 rebounds per game during the 1994-95 season and was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Tournament team along with MVP Antoine Walker.

Pope played in the NBA from 1998-2005 with the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets.


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