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Early candidates to replace Mark Madsen at Utah Valley

Mark Madsen has left Utah Valley to head to Cal Berkeley. Photo Courtesy of UVU Athletics and UVU Marketing.

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The departure of Mark Madsen to become the next head coach of the Cal Golden Bears has left Utah Valley with a huge void to fill. Coming off the best season in program history, UVU will want to capture some of that momentum by hiring the right guy to lead the program next. Here are a few possible early candidates that might be interested in becoming the next head coach at Utah Valley.

Todd Phillips, Utah Valley Associate Head Coach 

If UVU is looking to hire within the program then Todd Phillips would be the guy. By hiring Phillips, there is a chance to keep some continuity within the program and possibly keep a few players and coaches in Orem. Phillips had great success as the head coach at Salt Lake Community College compiling a 205-58 record with the Bruins. Phillips also led his team to four NJCAA Tournament appearances, four Region 18 Tournament championships, three SWAC regular season titles, and one NJCAA national championship. The current players on the roster at UVU reportedly “love Coach Phillips and would want him to be the next guy up” as well.

Jon Judkins , Utah Tech Head Coach  

In his career, Judkins has amassed 590 wins and became the first men’s college coach in Utah to reach the 500 win mark back in 2017. Last season with Utah Tech, Judkins became the all-time winningest college coach in state history. Utah Valley has the opportunity to poach a great coach from their in-state rival and fellow Western Athletic Conference mate in St. George and bring Judkins’ winning ways to Orem. It wouldn’t be the first WAC teams to go through this coaching carousel this season though. Recently, New Mexico State announced the hire of former Sam Houston State Head Coach Jason Hooten as the two programs plan to depart the WAC and head to Conference USA together next season.

Cody Fueger, BYU Assistant Coach 

Cody Fueger spent the 2015-2019 seasons on Mark Pope’s staff and was considered as a potential candidate to take over as head coach after Pope left. In the end, Fueger followed Pope to BYU after Madsen was hired. Fuegers experience dates back to his time as the video coordinator and student assistant at Utah from 2002-2007 under Rick Majerus. In his time at BYU, Fueger has emerged as Pope’s right hand man and is more than ready to step in and take over a D1 program.

Barret Peery, UNLV Assistant Coach 

The Payson, Utah native played out his college career at Snow college and later SUU. After spending some time on staff in Cedar City following his playing days, Peery found his way to Utah Valley as an assistant coach from 1997-1998. His coaching career has led him to stops at Utah, Arizona State, Santa Clara, Portland State, Texas Tech and now UNLV. If UVU can match, or even pay more for his services, this could be a bit of a “splash hire” for Athletic Director Jared Sumsion considering Peery’s name was thrown around to replace Dave Rose at BYU.

Chris Burgess, Utah Assistant Coach 

The former Utah standout is likely the next man up on the hill behind Head Coach Craig Smith. Burgess made the move from BYU to Utah last offseason but is quickly moving up the coaching ranks of college basketball. Burgess was at Utah Valley with Mark Pope from 2015-2019 where he worked with former UVU big men Akolda Manyang and Wyatt Lowell.  Manyang became a WAC All-Defensive Team honoree in 2017-18 while Lowell was named WAC Freshman of The Year in 2019. While Burgess may be considered for the job, it’s likely he will wait out his time at Utah to take over as head man at his alma mater.

Outside the box hire

Alex Jensen, Utah Jazz Assistant Coach 

If there is one thing that Sumsion has been known for at Utah Valley, it’s his ability to bring in big name NBA guys like Madsen and Pope. Sumsion has also been known to make the “splashy” big-name hire like he did with Kyle Beckerman for the UVU Men’s Soccer team. Jensen has been in line for an NBA head job, but has repeatedly been passed on in the last few rounds of the coaching carousel. The likelihood of  Jensen taking a massive pay cut to head to Orem is slim, but if he wants to be a head coach at the collegiate level, Sumsion would be the guy to offer him that opportunity much like the last few hires at UVU.

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