Mark Pope added a familiar face to his staff on Tuesday, naming former Cougars big man Nate Austin the program’s director of basketball operations.

Austin, who played at BYU from 2011-16, has been an assistant coach at Salt Lake Community College since May. 

Prior to that, he was the boys basketball head coach at Grantsville High for three seasons and led the Cowboys to the 3A state championship game in 2022.

Grantsville went 55-17 during his tenure.

“I’m thrilled to be back at BYU. I love it here,” Austin said in a statement. “I’m humbled, grateful, and excited to be part of coach Pope’s staff and this era of BYU basketball. I’m eager to serve the student-athletes and build relationships with them.”

Former BYU player Nate Austin is loving doing something unlikely — coaching — in an unlikely place — Grantsville High

Austin replaces Bobby Horodyski, who spent four years at BYU before taking an assistant coaching position at Queens University this offseason.

Austin, who graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in 2016, was a graduate assistant at the school from 2018-20 and was a part of Pope’s staff his first season, when the Cougars went 25-8.

“We are happy to have Nate, Kim and the kids back at BYU. His knowledge of BYU and its rich history is going to be valuable as we enter our first season in the Big 12,” Pope said in a statement.

“Nate is one of the toughest players that I have ever had the opportunity to coach and that is going to translate to helping us be successful in every aspect of the program. He excelled here as a graduate assistant and had a terrific run as the head coach at Grantsville High School.”

Austin, who prepped at Lone Peak High and also coached there as an assistant after his playing days at BYU, appeared in 153 games for the Cougars.

He helped BYU win two NCAA tournament games and make a pair of trips to the NIT semifinals during his time as a Cougar, while also finishing his career with 289 offensive rebounds, the second-most in program history.