Dark horse candidates for BYU's head coaching job

Who are some under-the-radar picks for the coaching vacancy in Provo?
Alex Jensen is a longshot for the job, but BYU would be foolish not to reach out
Alex Jensen is a longshot for the job, but BYU would be foolish not to reach out / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

BYU is suddenly without their head coach, Mark Pope, who took off to be commander-in-chief of Kentucky's men's basketball team. Pope was a longshot to be appointed the Wildcats' head coach, but Kentucky rushed to hire Pope only three days after John Calipari dropped them for a job in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

But when Kentucky offers you the head coach position, you take it. End of story. If Kentucky offered me the head coaching position, I'd take it knowing full-well I'd be fired by mid-season.

Kentucky and college basketball fans across the nation were blindsided by the news of Pope's hire. While he was among the most promising candidates with a great upside, a blue-blood program like Kentucky would often be hesitant to take such a risk.

BYU has a short list of obvious candidates, but who are some of the dark horses for the job? Could the Cougars land a coach who would likely never say yes in a million years (so you're saying there's a chance), or do they take a chance on a largely unproven candidate who no one suspected would make the jump to head coach?

The Impossible Pickups

These coaches are either in a great position at their current job, or would likely have no interest in coaching at BYU. While they would likely never say yes to an offer, BYU is now in a power conference, and could be an enticing offer if they catch a candidate on the right day.

Alex Jensen - Assistant Coach for the Dallas Mavericks

Alex Jensen
Alex Jensen when he was still on the Jazz's coaching staff / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

Jensen has been on BYU's radar for years. Currently on Jason Kidd's bench in Dallas, Jensen spent years coaching the Jazz alongside Quinn Snyder. Jensen was an integral piece of Utah's coaching staff and helped lead the Jazz to an NBA-best record in the 2020-21 season.

Jensen is a member of BYU's sponsor religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which makes him an obvious option for the Cougars. Jensen is happy and comfortable in his role in the NBA.

Kevin Young - Assistant Coach for the Phoenix Suns

Kevin Young
Kevin Young is the current assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Another NBA assistant coach, Kevin Young has been on several team's sidelines and has ties to the state of Utah. It's hard to imagine he'd leave the NBA for the ever-changing landscape of college hoops, but Young could be an interesting figure to keep an eye on.

The Sleeper Picks

Candidates who won't be at the top of BYU's list, but could be promising pickups for the future. These candidates may be better served as assistants on BYU's coaching staff before getting the big job, but you never know when someone might appear out of the cracks to be the perfect option for BYU's program.

K.C. Beard - Assistant Coach for the Houston Cougars

Beard has only been in the coaching game for a short time, but has been with one of the nation's best programs in Houston. The Cougars were Big 12 regular season champions in their first season with the conference, and Beard's contributions were certainly valuable.

Coach Beard is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, which will essentially make him automatically considered for the positon. He was a video coordinator for the Trail Blazers, Jazz, and even the Canadian National Team until 2021, when he joined the Houston coaching staff.

Quincy Lewis - Head Coach at Lehi High School

Lewis was an assistant coach on Dave Rose's staff until the 2019 season, when he left to coach at Lehi High School. He's been a long time assistant coach in several locations around Utah and even at BYU-Hawaii. This would be an underwhelming selection, but he's worth putting on the list.

The No-Way-No-Hows

These are the coaching candidates that are so off-the-grid that BYU might not notice them if they broke into Tom Holmoe's office and demanded they they be taken seriously.

Calvin Barrett - Editor of Lawless Republic


Your Uncle - coaches from his couch every game

He seems to know everything about basketball and knew better than coach Pope for his entire tenure. BYU would be fools to overlook such a coaching prodigy.

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