PROVO — BYU’s first-year coach Mark Pope, who has guided his team to a No. 15 ranking, a 24-7 overall record and a second-place finish in the West Coast Conference, didn’t win WCC Coach of the Year honors this week. That honor went to Pacific’s Damon Stoudamire. 

But Friday, Pope was selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2020 Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Award as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. 

The other finalists are Mark Few (Gonzaga), John Calipari (Kentucky), Patrick Chambers (Penn State), Scott Drew (Baylor), Brian Dutcher (San Diego State), Anthony Grant (Dayton), Leonard Hamilton (Florida State), Greg McDermott (Creighton) and Bruce Pearl (Auburn).

Few is looking to win his second Naismith Coach of the Year Award in four years (2017).

BYU’s Mark Pope named semifinalist for national Coach of the Year award

Pope, hired last April, has injected a newfound enthusiasm in BYU basketball.

“He’s brought so much to this program, but he just has so much energy and he works so hard,” guard TJ Haws said last week. “You never really see him taking days off or taking time off. He’s always up in his office. He’s always working. He’s always trying to figure out what to do next and that kind of energy is contagious to all of our guys. All of our guys feel that and we want to be the best we can be. And he’s leading that charge.”

The Cougars knocked off No. 2 Gonzaga in Provo, 91-78, on Feb. 22. BYU will play in the WCC Tournament semifinals Monday (9:30 p.m., MST, ESPN2). The Cougars are No. 9 in the NCAA NET rankings, No. 10 in and No. 14 in the ESPN College Basketball Power Index.

Former BYU coach Dave Rose was a semifinalist and finalist for the Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Award in 2010-11.

“These coaches have shown their talent throughout the season, proving themselves as viable candidates to win this award,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “How their teams perform under pressure during their respective conference tournaments will have a great influence on our voting academy as they select the four finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year.”

Fans can participate by visiting between March 20-April 1, to cast their ballot. Fan tally will account for 5% of the overall final vote. 

On April 5, the Coach of the Year will be awarded during the Men’s Division I Championship weekend in Atlanta.