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Former BYU basketball coach Dave Rose suffers stroke

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BYU coach Dave Rose watches his team practice Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in the Bradley Center.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Former BYU basketball coach Dave Rose is dealing with another major health setback after suffering a stroke Thursday.

“It’s going to be a battle,” a source close to the Rose family told the Deseret News Saturday about Rose’s prognosis.

News of the legendary coach’s stroke first was first reported by the official BYU Basketball Twitter account Saturday morning. 

“The entire BYU Athletics family wishes to offer its collective faith and prayers in behalf of longtime coach Dave Rose and the Rose family, after Coach Rose suffered a stroke Thursday,” according to the account. “Coach Rose is currently stabilized in the hospital. The Rose family expressed appreciation for the love and support they have received, and would ask for your continued faith and prayers in Coach Rose’s behalf.”

Messages of concern and support poured in on social media on behalf of Rose, who was BYU’s head coach from 2005-2019. Prior to that, he served as an assistant from 1997-2005.

Current BYU coach Mark Pope, who served as Rose’s assistant from 2011-2015, wrote a message on Twitter Saturday morning.

“Lee Anne and I have such deep love and gratitude for Coach and Cheryl. They have been incredibly generous mentors and friends,” Pope wrote. “They have given their whole heart to BYU.  They have brought so much joy to so many people for so many years. We are praying for Coach and his family.”

“We love you Dave & Cheryl and Rose Family,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe posted on Twitter Saturday. “You’ve got thousands of friends around the world pulling for your recovery and sending up prayers of faith heavenward on your behalf.”

Rose turned 63 on Dec. 19.

In his 14 years as BYU’s head coach, Rose guided BYU to eight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2011. He also coached the 2011 consensus NCAA Player of the Year, Jimmer Fredette.  

Rose led the Cougars to a 348-131 record. In September of 2019, the NCAA ruled that the school had to vacate 47 of those wins in connection with Nick Emery accepting impermissible benefits while playing — though neither Rose nor the school knew anything about it.

Rose is No. 2 in school history in all-time wins behind Stan Watts’ 371 total victories.

Rose has dealt with several health struggles before.   

At around 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 22, 2019, Rose woke up and told his wife, Cheryl, that he was having a heart attack and she immediately drove him to Utah Valley Hospital. Doctors put stents in his heart. After surgery, Rose participated in a 22-day cardiac rehab. 

When he suffered the heart attack, the Roses had been home for only a few days after spending a month in Italy on vacation. During the summer of 2009, Rose was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. He recovered but undergoes scans periodically. 

When he retired in March 2019, Rose said health issues factored into his decision. 

“How did this happen and how did it come to this? I’ve had 10 years of what some doctors have said, ‘You’re playing on house money.’ And the house money’s been pretty good to me,” he said at his retirement news conference at the Marriott Center. “I kind of have three coaching pillars for me. One is my mind, a coaching mind; my body, my physical body, a coaching body; and then what I consider a coaching soul, which is my heart.

“My mind, I fought for years. You get tired, you get frustrated, you get mad, you can’t figure things out, and I’ve always been able to talk my mind back into it’s time to accept the next challenge; let’s get the next team, let’s go,” Rose continued. “My body would be tired at times but I could always get myself up and get going and make my body do it. But it’s my coaching soul that has put me here today. I always tell everybody — you can’t trick how you feel. You can pretend, you can ignore it, but you know inside how you feel. And my coaching soul said it was time, time to be done. My heart told me it was time to leave.”

In December 2019, the Deseret News asked Rose about his legacy as BYU’s coach. 

“You don’t have much control over that. I hope it would be similar to the approach I had to the job — to work as hard as I can to do a good job for the university, the church, the players and the staff,” he said. “For me, I was just a guy that managed it and wanted it to be successful. When I got the job, I wanted BYU to be a national program and for us not to be good every couple of years but good every year and have great teams. We had some really good teams and we had some great teams.”