Mark Pope is following in the footsteps of his mentor Rick Pitino, and “Slick Rick” couldn’t be more thrilled.

After it was announced that Pope is leaving BYU for the head coaching job at Kentucky, Pitino took to social media to congratulate his former pupil on earning the role in Lexington he once held himself.

“What a special day for the University of Kentucky,” Pitino said in a video posted to X. “The leader, the captain of ‘the untouchables’ is coming home to lead the Wildcats.”

Pitino, now the head coach at St. John’s, led the Wildcats from 1989-97. It was the highlight of his illustrious coaching career.

Pope spent two seasons playing for him and was a captain for the 1996 national championship squad, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest teams in the history of the sport.

“Mark Pope offensively, no one does it better,” Pitino said Friday. “The way his teams move and the way his teams shoot the three, the ball movement to play movement is outstanding. ... What some of you don’t realize is how good of a basketball mind he has, how much of a relentless recruiter he will be.”

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Multiple reports stated that Pitino was lobbying heavily behind the scenes in Kentucky circles for Pope to get the job.

With many Wildcat fans skeptical of the hiring, Pitino guaranteed his former champion would bring the program back to the same heights they experienced together in 1996.

“Mark Pope will go on to greatness, you can put it down. ... I can guarantee you one thing, nobody epitomizes the name Kentucky on the front of the jersey more than Mark Pope,” Pitino said. “You have one of the premier young coaches in the game. Relish it, because he will do you proud. I couldn’t be any more proud than to see Mark Pope lead the Kentucky Wildcats to another championship. He’ll get it done.”