Utah Valley assistant coach Cody Fueger has been named interim head coach of the UVU men’s basketball team until a national search is completed to replace Mark Pope, who announced Wednesday he is departing UVU to become the men’s basketball head coach at Brigham Young University.
“Mark Pope’s impact on Utah Valley University basketball is even bigger than his 6’10” frame,” said Astrid S. Tuminez, president of Utah Valley University. “While his achievements and records at UVU will undoubtedly be discussed at length, the two things I appreciate most about him are his passion and tenacity for seeing student-athletes succeed. We thank him for his service and wish him and his family the very best.”
Fueger just wrapped up his fourth season as an assistant coach at UVU. He has 16 years of collegiate coaching experience with stops at Utah, Louisiana Tech, UC Riverside, Utah State, BYU and Utah Valley.
Pope, who spent four seasons with Utah Valley, took the program to historic, record-breaking heights. Under his direction, the 2018-19 Wolverines wrapped up non-conference play with an 11-4 record, which is the best non-league record in school history. The 11-4 record was capped off with a 68-64 road win at Fresno State on Dec. 29, one of the best non-conference wins in school history.
Pope’s team won 22 straight games at the UCCU Center, the second-longest active home winning streak in the nation. The team won 14 in a row at home to end the 2017-18 season and followed that with eight straight home wins to start the most recent season.
During the 2018-19 season, Pope’s team won its first-ever preseason tournament as the team claimed the middleweight championship belt at the MGM Main Event in Las Vegas, with wins over Hartford and Long Beach State. UVU also picked up its first-ever road win against Weber State in Ogden, defeating the Wildcats 75-63.
Pope’s squad finished second in the WAC standings for a second straight season with an impressive 12-4 conference record. Pope led his 2018-19 team to a school-record 25 wins and a third-straight appearance in the College Basketball Invitational. With these wins, UVU secured back-to-back 20-plus win seasons for the first time in UVU history. His team also picked up a win over CSUN in the first round of the CBI, marking the third-straight season that the Wolverines have won a game in a national postseason tournament.
Under his guidance, Jake Toolson became the first UVU player in school history to earn WAC Player of the Year honors, while Wyatt Lowell became the first-ever player to receive WAC Freshman of the Year honors. Conner Toolson was named to the WAC All-Tournament team as the Wolverines made a third-straight appearance in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament. This past season, Jake Toolson also became the second player in UVU history to earn AP All-American Honorable Mention honors.