Big 12 News

Look: Kentucky, Mark Pope Contract Offer Details Revealed

Mar 21, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope keeps an eye on the action against the Duquesne Dukes in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at CHI Health Center Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that Kentucky has found its next head coach, as BYU’s Mark Pope has become the sole focus of the Wildcats’ search as the week draws to an end.

After John Calipari left UK and promptly took the Arkansas job, Kentucky basketball began its first coaching search in more than a decade and a half, with Baylor head coach Scott Drew being the major candidate.

On Wednesday, it appeared that Drew was trending heavily toward landing the job as reports poured in that he’d been offered the gig and that his family was in Lexington (Kent.) checking things out.

 

However, Thursday rolled around and Drew announced that he’s sticking with the Bears and remaining in Waco (Tex.), likely making him a lifer after turning down arguably the most prestigious job in the sport.

With Pope now the focus, though, there’s a good chance the Wildcats aren’t going 0-for-2 on swinging at Big 12 coaches. On Friday morning, just a few hours after the report that UK was close to hiring Pope, the details of the contract offer were revealed.

The standing offer is a five-year contract worth $5.5 million per year, per CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, and is expected to be finalized in the next several hours. That total, which falls $3 million shy of Calipari’s $8.5 million salary with the Wildcats (per USA Today), would make Pope the sixth-highest-paid coach in college basketball.

 

In fact, it would put him just ahead of Scott Drew, interestingly enough. But, with Drew off the table, and Dan Hurley out as well, Kentucky was starting to lean on the hopes that Billy Donovan might leave the Chicago Bulls to come to Lexington, and that wasn’t all that likely.

So, with Pope essentially in the boat, the Wildcats have their man, and everyone goes home a winner.

Except for BYU, who is now looking for a new coach.

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