Chris Burgess is heading back to the Utah Runnin’ Utes.
The BYU Cougars assistant basketball coach has been hired to the same post by the Utes sources have told the Deseret News, filling the spot that was vacated when Eric Peterson left to become the head coach at South Dakota last month.
An official announcement of Burgess’ hire could come as early as Wednesday.
For Burgess, 42, it marks the return to a place he has deep ties to. As a player, he transferred to Utah from Duke in 1997 after two seasons (Burgess had been a McDonald’s high school All-American but didn’t make a big impact with the Blue Devils and then was beset by injury at Utah), and then he began his coaching career with the Utes in 2013 as a graduate assistant.
From there, Burgess joined the staff at Salt Lake Community College for a short stint in 2014 before moving on to Indian Hills Community College in Iowa for a season.
In 2015, Mark Pope became the head coach at UVU and hired Burgess as an assistant. The two stayed there until 2019, when Pope was hired as BYU’s head coach and brought Burgess with him.
That was notable, as Burgess had been in the middle of national headlines in the mid-1990s when, as a blue-chip recruit, he chose Duke over BYU, a decision that prompted then-BYU head coach Roger Reid to say that Burgess had in essence turned his back on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the school (the two spoke for the first time since then in 2019 after Burgess was hired).
Last spring when Utah hired Craig Smith as head coach to replace Larry Krystkowiak, there was chatter that Burgess could join the staff, but that did not occur, and Smith brought Peterson, Demarlo Slocum and Tim Morris.
Burgess has a reputation as a strong recruiter, particularly in the state of Utah, and will now be taking that reputation north.
BYU, meanwhile, now has a vacancy on its coaching staff that it will be looking to fill.