With news of Mark Pope leaving BYU for Kentucky, there’s one name at the top of nearly every list of possible replacements in Provo: Mark Madsen.

The nine-year NBA veteran and two time world champion had been a candidate for the Cougars’ head coaching job when Pope was hired in 2019. Madsen instead took over at UVU and parlayed his success there into a job at Cal, where he finished 13-19 this past season in a rebuilding effort.

Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with local ties, Madsen would be an obvious choice for BYU to target when filling the post-Pope void. However, Madsen seems to have tried to squash such an idea with a social media post Friday morning.

“On behalf of myself and Hannah, we want to thank every single member of the Cal community for your unconditional love and support this year,” Madsen wrote in a post to X. “We have felt welcomed and embraced. Gratitude would be an understatement. We love Cal and the Bay Area. We are excited and fully committed for the future here at Cal.

“Over the coming weeks, you will continue to see outstanding student-athletes committing and signing to Cal. We are building something special. We will win. We will continue to send players to the NBA. ‘The Haas of Pain’ will be in full effect with rabid students and fans.”

Madsen signed a hefty extension to remain at Cal through 2030 just a month ago, with a buyout number of more than $6 million, according to SportsKeeda.

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Being “fully committed” to the future at Cal, as Madsen wrote, includes transitioning the program into the ACC this coming season. Given the Bears’ improvement in 2023-24 — and their arena’s first sellout in seven years — it’s clear that basketball in Berkeley is moving in the right direction, and Madsen’s desire to stay rather than explore something new at BYU is understandable.

With Madsen seemingly being off the table now, BYU’s top remaining candidates to replace Pope include Utah assistant Chris Burgess and UNLV Barret Peery, among others.