I read this article by KSL's Greg Wrubell about a week ago. In it, Greg takes us back to some thoughts that he shared back in 2008 about a certain timeline that transpired from Dec 04 to Apr 05. During that time, Bronco Mendenhall was promoted to head football coach, Tom Holmoe was appointed as the new Athletic Director at BYU, and Dave Rose was promoted to head basketball coach. Greg correctly points the effects those moves have had in the past 6+ years.
Mendenhall and Rose have added to their many accomplishments, with the football team playing in a bowl games in all six seasons of Mendenhall's tenure, and the basketball team having played in a school-record five consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
Mendenhall (73%) and Rose (78%) are among the most successful coaches of their era; only BYU and Ohio State can claim that their football and basketball coaches are both ranked in the current top ten in career active coaching win percentage.
BYU leaves the MWC as the dominant historical leader in conference championships across all sports, and as the league leader in football and basketball, with both programs holding the league record for conference championships and conference wins. The BYU Basketball team also holds the conference record for overall wins since the MWC was formed.
BYU has been dominant during this "new golden era" but I believe, even coming off a less-than-stellar football season and losing one of the top 5 greatest BYU athletes ever (Jimmer Fredette), there is much hope to be had for the future of BYU Sports. I think having Bronco & Rose are the keys, but BYUtv's advancement & relationship with ESPN is equally fundamental.
After an energy-filled and very exciting spring practice, Coach Mendenhall looks to bring the most depth he has ever had to the field this fall. At almost every position their is a starter with experience & talent and an equally talented backup waiting in the wings. most importantly, their is a designated quarterback at the starting spot in Jake Heaps. Under the tutelage of Brandon Doman, Jake has grown & matured into this roll. Bronco leads a defensive unit that is full of speed and toughness. Most impressive is the linebacking core with names like Pendelton, Ogletree, and Van Noy to name a few. Look for Uona Kaveinga, a USC transfer, to make an immediate impact. Not only is next season packed, but their are countless players in the pipeline for future years. Recruiting at BYU is unique because of the mission aspect. BYU might sign a guy that won't play in the program for 3 years. It can create headaches and difficulties but it also allows the coaching staff to stack players for future years. Ton Holmoe is a genius/mastermind/magician for what he has been able to negotiate for BYU Football in the 9 months since Independence day (Granted with ESPN's help). The game with Texas was already scheduled but he was able to go out and get Ole Miss, Oregon St moved to later in the season, TCU (again later in the season) & an underrated UCF team. The 2-year agreement with the WAC was necessary to fill the gaps. There are also 8 & 10 year deals with Notre Dame and Hawaii.
I am a self-proclaimed basketball guy. I will take basketball over any other sport, any day of the week. This past season was the greatest ride BYU has seen since Daniel Ray Ainge played in the Marriott Center. Jimmer took the nation by storm, and racked up every meaningful POY the award. The AP POY, the Adolf Rupp Trophy, the Oscar Robinson award, the Naismith award and the John Wooden award. He garnered unheard of attention for a BYU player is this day & age of twitter, blogs (hey O!) and podcasts. But now the Jimmer show moves on to the NBA. So what is there to look forward to? Plenty. By all indications Brandon Davies will be back to anchor the low post next season. Noah Hartsock & Charles Abouo will be the senior leadership that Dave Rose depends on so much. The excitement for me is to see how Matt Carlino and Damarcus Harrison start their career's at BYU. We are coming off the biggest increase in attendance in the nation this past season. I hope we can continue that trend going forward into the West Coast Conference. I like that conference because it is dominated by basketball. Gonzaga has a national profile and St Mary's has been on the rise for a few years. My hope is that the other schools in the conference will seize this opportunity with an increased conference profile to reinvest in their programs. From day one we will be competing for a conference title. I don't think we can expect the kind of season from last year, be we will compete and succeed. Dave Rose has been a great recruiter and he showed his leadership and integrity through the Davies Honor Code saga. Those are traits parents will feel comfortable allowing their sons to be a part of. And with his new 5-year contract, its something we can look forward to seeing for years to come.
BYUTV & ESPN PARTNERSHIP
Anyone who watched the old BYUtv knows the quality was not high up there. As the LDS Church has embraced technology and invested in it, the capacities of BYUtv have grown. BYU also built a new state-of-the-art broadcast facility and a new HD broadcast truck. The Marriott Center and Lavell Edwards Stadium have been hardwired for HD. Comcast has already picked up BYUtv HD for Utah, with hope for more carriers in the future. BYUtv has focused on rebranding itself in two lights. Their motto is 'See the good in the world' and they focus on family-friendly content to support that. They other is 'The home of BYU sports.' The new True Blue francise hosted by Dave McCann has brought new access to BYU sports and allows fans to follow even more in depth. ESPN will have the right to all home BYU Football & Basketball games, with those not airing on an ESPN network to be aired on BYUtv. Also, BYUtv will hold ALL rebroadcasting rights. It certainly is nice to have the worldwide leader in sports in your corner, and it has already shown in the football scheduling. ESPN also holds the rights to WCC basketball, so we will likely see many of the road games on ESPN channels. Through this increased and unique exposure BYU coaches will have added benefits to pitch to potential recruits.
The future is bright for BYU sports. The right coaches are in place. The right TV deals are in place. It is time for BYU to show off just how unique it is. I look forward to cheering them on with the rest of you.