Support Us Button Widget

4 facts about the new UK men’s basketball coach

We hope Mark Pope is ready to rejoin the Big Blue Nation.

A jumbotron reads "Welcome Home, Mark Pope, Men's Basketball Head Coach"

BBN gave Coach Pope a warm welcome over the weekend. | Giphy by LEXtoday

Nearly 30 years after the 1996 NCAA Championship title came home to Lexington, one of the players on the winning team is becoming a Wildcat again.

Mark Pope has officially been announced as the new head coach for the UK men’s basketball team after holding the same title for five years at Brigham Young University. As the BBN enters this new era, here’s a few fast facts about Coach Pope:

  • He was the 1996 team captain
  • He was roommates with fellow player Jeff Sheppard, aka Reed Sheppard’s dad
  • He is the only other coach, aside from Joe B. Hall, to both play + coach the team
  • He played professionally from 1997 to 2005

“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 a statement to UK Athletics.
The five-year contract will see Pope average $5.5 million per season. Welcome back, Coach Pope.

Correction: This article previously stated that Adolph Rupp coached and played for Kentucky. This has been amended.

More from LEXtoday