For the past six seasons at BYU, Dave Rose has taken a program that had become good under predecessor Steve Cleveland and made it better. But then came the conference realignment during the summer of 2010 where an obviously disappointed Dave Rose was visible at the press conference where BYU AD Tom Holmoe announced BYU would be going independent in football and basketball would join the West Coast Conference (WCC).
The immediate future of the BYU basketball program, albeit bright with recruits to pick up the torch passed to them by the likes of Jackson Emery and Jimmer Fredette, has a big question mark about it given the WCC isn’t the marquee league that the PAC-12 or Big-12 are, particularly when it comes to a team’s ability to land an at large bid to the NCAA tourney year in and year out.
While AD Tom Holmoe and President Cecil Samuelson will tell Rose behind the scenes privately no doubt that “BYU is on the Big-12 radar” over the next couple of years, Rose has been at BYU long enough to know the politics that also govern the LDS Church owned and operated school, and how they can sabotage even the best possible candidate institution to be invited to one of the six elite power conferences in college sports.
The maneuvering and jostling last August for a couple of weeks clearly brought the alignment politics and immediate limitations governing who BYU could align itself with currently to the surface in a highly unfavorable way.
Last Saturday, with Utah’s firing of four-year head coach Jim Boylen, the rumors of a possible Dave Rose departure from BYU began to swirl, after all why not? Wouldn’t Rose be a good fit? Without question he is on Utah AD Chris Hill’s short list along with Utah State coach Stu Morrill and Trent Johnson of LSU (whom Chris Hill offered the position to back in 2004 while Johnson was still at Nevada). And with Utah moving to the PAC-12 next year wouldn’t this be a step up? Wouldn’t Dave Rose be moving into a situation not much different than the one he inherited from Steve Cleveland in 2005?
While Rose talks nothing about leaving to his subordinates in Provo as well as reportedly others in the administration according to Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune, the question still remains if Rose will be happy given this uncertainty in the immediate future for BYU. After all he saw how disappointed his prior boss Steve Cleveland was with how some of the overseers of BYU treated the athletic department at times and why he ultimately took a lateral but more challenging move to Fresno State
Utah’s program might be at a crossroads with finding a coach who can take the Utes to the levels they were under Rick Majerus during the 1990s, and as they change to a power conference in the PAC-12 from the WAC/MWC alignments they have been with for the past half century.
But similarly the BYU program enters uncharted waters with their league alignment, but the waters might be more choppy if they can’t satisfy a successful coach who pulled his name out of the hat a couple of years ago to go back to his alma-matter at the University of Houston (Rose played for “Phi Slamma-Jamma” back in the early 1980s), and stay at BYU