Is it a little weird Mark Pope hasn’t sent a farewell statement to BYU fans?






These days, it is kind of a tradition that departing coaches and players do when transferring to different programs after toiling for their fanbase and boosters.

It’s so easy to do. You could almost fill in a form and send it out on X, Instagram, Facebook or TikTok.

You know, you’ve seen them.

“It’s been one of the greatest experiences of my life to have worked at (fill-in-the-blank). My family and I have such great memories and are so grateful for the loyal support and engagement of (fill-in-the-blank) fans and we will never forget the relationships we have forged during our time at (fill-in-the-blank). I want to thank … (blah, blah, blah and blah, blah blah). I have received a great opportunity to further my career at (fill-in-the-blank), and I look forward to new opportunities and blessings on the horizon.”

You see this all the time.

With Pope, hired to coach Kentucky, it’s been, well, crickets. This is a BYU fanbase that led the Big 12 in attendance, showing up to support his team and efforts.

Again, he’s under no obligation to. He doesn’t have to say a thing, just get on with his new gig.

As of the publishing of this column, Pope hadn’t made a statement about his tenure at BYU; he certainly could any moment.

But even John Calipari created a video for Kentucky fans when he left for Arkansas. He did it quick as you could trade blue for Razorback red. You can read Calipari’s statement here. He said the Kentucky job was his dream job and he was “indebted forever” to Kentucky players.

So, why nothing from Pope, who is now one of the top six paid coaches in college basketball, a guy whose contract will give him not only cold, hard cash but two luxury cars, 30 hours a year on a private jet, and other perks that would make a BYU coach blush?

Pope did address his previous employers (BYU, UVU) at his press conference but did not mention them by name.

Well, nobody but Pope knows. Maybe his wife Lee Anne didn’t remind him of this informal protocol because he’s been too busy group chatting with his former teammates and getting set up in Lexington, including a mammoth press conference in a packed Rupp Arena on Sunday.

It could be that this whirlwind move in his life and for his family has really taken almost every minute of his life and once he put it off a day or two it became more and more awkward.

If could be that Pope has a conscious and knowing what he did at Utah Valley in taking players there to follow him to BYU, it would be a little bit of a cringe-worthy act. Kentucky is currently losing commitments from its signing class, including five-star athletes and current members of the Kentucky roster that have entered the transfer portal. Leaving is one thing, blowing up your old BYU roster is another, and he cares.

Well, you would think. We don’t know how he feels.

It could be his exit from BYU comes after some “feelings” between him and some administrators and there’s a tinge of satisfaction in the lurch-leaving status and potential poaching of players. We just don’t know.

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That seems a little petty though, and when you’re making millions, what’s a disagreement or two between friends? Most all coaches have words in meetings with bosses and it’s usually over money or resources.

Or, it could be none of the above.

He simply didn’t do it — so far.

And he doesn’t have to.

Nobody should hold it against Pope to live out a dream by returning to Kentucky, a place his 1996 team won a national championship. This is a huge step for Pope and he should be allowed to enjoy it and take it as far as he can.

But it does seem a little weird that he’s remained silent about his work at a school that gave him the biggest break in his college career, both as a former assistant that led to the UVU job, and then bringing him back to help make a splash in the Big 12.

How strange is this and should folks be bugged about it?

You decide.

I just wish the guy good luck and a winner in the horse he can now buy or bet on for the Kentucky Derby.

Mark Pope speaks to fans and media after being named Kentucky head coach in Lexington, Ky., Sunday, April 14, 2024.
Mark Pope speaks to fans and media after being named Kentucky head coach in Lexington, Ky., Sunday, April 14, 2024. | James Crisp, Associated Press