Days after getting snubbed for for WCC Coach of the Year, Mark Pope was one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year. Gonzaga’s Mark Pope was also one of 10 finalists. Pacific’s Damon Stoudamire, WCC Coach of the Year, was not one of the semifinalists.
Pope has led BYU to one of the nation’s most surprising turnarounds. After missing the NIT last season, BYU is ranked in the top 15 and projected anywhere from a 4-6 seed in the NCAA tournament.
His motion and analytics-driven offense has also led to a significant offensive improvement for BYU. The Cougars are #1 nationally in three-point percentage, shooting 42%. Last year, BYU was 240th nationally at 33%. Defensively, BYU has improved from 162 to 75 in KenPom’s defensive adjusted efficiency ratings.
Pope may get high-level P5 offers after this season and beyond, but BYU could be looking at one of the best season’s in program history if they make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.
The four finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year will be announced March 18.