Utah Valley gives basketball coach Mark Pope a 6-year contract extension

Thursday , June 07, 2018 - 6:00 PM

OREM — Utah Valley University made a play to continue building a challenger in the Utah college hoops scene Friday by announcing a six-year contract extension for head coach Mark Pope.

Pope’s previous term was set to expire in 2020, but the new deal puts him under contract through the 2023-24 season.

Pope, a former player at the University of Kentucky and former BYU assistant coach, took over the Wolverines’ program before the 2015-16 season. He coached UVU to a school-best 23-11 record in the 2017-18 season.

“We’re really proud of what we have accomplished over the last three years but this contract signifies what we really deep down believe, that we’re barely scratching the surface of what can be accomplished here,” Pope said in a news release.

The Wolverines have totaled a record of 52-46 in Pope’s three seasons and currently hold the nation’s fourth-longest home winning streak at 14 games. His program made waves with a stunning 114-101 win at BYU in 2016 and continued its home win streak over Weber State with a lopsided 83-56 win in 2017.

Pope also played a central role in delivering the NUVI Basketball Center to campus, according to the university, which was completed in 2017. He helped raise funds for the practice and conditioning facility that houses both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

The program saw school-record attendance of 3,413 fans per game in the 2017-18 season.

“We’ve got some real momentum going at Utah Valley University and in our athletic department because of what men’s basketball has been able to accomplish these past three years,” said UVU athletics director Vince Otoupal in the release. “He’s the guy that we believe will continue to move us forward. We’re taking every step that is necessary to take our athletic department to the next level.”

UVU is a Division-I college basketball newcomer, becoming a fully eligible D-I member in the 2009-10 season and still seeking its first conference championship.

Pope is the school’s second D-I coach, taking over for 13-year coach Dick Hunsaker who guided UVU from junior college competition through the transition to D-I that began in 2004.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net, follow him on Twitter @bhein3 and at facebook.com/brettheinwrites.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.

Get the Standard-Examiner Advantage.