Mark Madsen was officially named new head coach of the UVU basketball team at a press conference Monday, April 15, replacing Mark Pope, who took the same position at BYU.

Madsen brings his 15 years of experience in professional basketball to UVU, nine of which came as a player. He won the 2001 and 2002 NBA championships with the Lakers, who drafted him in the first round in 2000.

“The goal here for Utah Valley University is to make the NCAA Tournament and have a deep run,” Madsen said. “In that locker room, these UVU players have unique talents and abilities that can help this program win championships.”

After his playing career was finished, Madsen spent one season as an assistant coach for his alma mater at Stanford, coaching the Cardinal during the 2012-13 season. He then rejoined the Los Angeles Lakers as an assistant coach in 2013 where he spent the last six years before accepting the offer to coach the Wolverines.

“I’ve been mentored by some great coaches and some great players that I consider friends. I will draw on my previous experience as a player and a coach to bring it to this program and these players.”

“Mark Madsen has reached the pinnacle of his sport as an NBA champion — not once, but twice. He knows what it takes to succeed in basketball and in life,” Astrid Tuminez, president of UVU, said. “Off the court, Coach Madsen earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA before launching an extensive coaching career. With his strengths and experience, he will inspire our student-athletes in and out of competition, and will help us build even stronger relationships with our broader UVU community.”

After Pope’s departure, several current UVU players have entered the transfer portal, exploring opportunities to play for another school. At the top of this list is Jake Toolson, the reigning WAC Player of the Year, who has one year of eligibility left.

“My job right now—my no. 1 job—is to re-recruit our current players. I’m looking forward to trying to keep every single player here in Wolverine green,” Madsen said. “Recruiting starts this week and I’m ready for that challenge.”

Wyatt Lowell, last season’s WAC Freshman of the Year, also entered the transfer portal, as did Baylee Steele and Isaiah White. Steele, the 6’11 big man, already committed to Duquesne and will not return to UVU next season.

Photo courtesy of Jay Drowns

Ty Bianucci

Ty Bianucci is a life-long fan of the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and Golden State Warriors who started on the sports beat for The Review, but now contributes investigative stories. He, along with two of his colleagues, were awarded the Sunshine Award in 2018 by the Society of Professional Journalists.