Dick Harmon: BYU, Dave Rose is a marriage made in basketball heaven

Published: Wednesday, April 6 2011 5:00 p.m. MDT

Brigham Young University basketball head coach Dave Rose

Mike Terry, Deseret News

PROVO — BYU must really, really love Dave Rose.

Folks at BYU, with the backing of its board of trustees, which is comprised of general authorities of the LDS Church, just re-did BYU basketball coach Dave Rose's contract and extended it for five years.

It is unprecedented.

Never happened before at this school.

It is only in the past decade BYU has given any of its coaches multi-year contracts, and Rose and Bronco Mendenhall were the first.

I caught up with legendary football coach LaVell Edwards on the golf course by phone after Wednesday's announcement by athletic director Tom Holmoe. I asked Edwards, who has had a stadium named after him: "When was your first multi-year contract from BYU?"

"Never. I never had one," he said.

Year to year for Edwards.

From 1962 as an assistant until the year 2000 when he retired as head coach, he was guaranteed money only through every August.

My, how times have changed.

And how BYU loves the Roses.

So, how much does that love translate into money? It is a secret. Rooting financial details out of BYU is tougher than prying a cookie from the claws of a raccoon.

"We believe Dave is the best coach in the country and whatever he is paid, he is underpaid," said BYU president Cecil O. Samuelson.

But it is more than the money, said the president. Rose shares a vision of the future of his program with top administrators. They speak the same language.

"He gets it," said Samuelson.

That was never more apparent than this season, when BYU suspended the Cougars' best post player at the worst time possible.

Rose handled it like a good Marine and marched into the Sweet 16.

What we do know is at least three or maybe four schools came calling for Rose when the season ended. They are described as serious offers.

"I was flattered," said Rose. "There was a great deal of interest."

One who came courting was Oklahoma, and the offer last Tuesday is believed to have been $1.7 million a year. When Rose declined, the Sooners went to UNLV's Lon Kruger with the same offer and when Kruger turned it down, they upped it to more than $2 million. He said, OK.

There were other offers for big money. While nobody's identifying exactly who, you can throw a dart at the ocean and chances of hitting water from 20 feet are the same odds that your guess would be correct.

Holmoe isn't saying who came calling. Neither is Rose. Professional courtesy.

When someone asked Holmoe if there was ever a point in the past few weeks when he thought he'd lose Rose, Holmoe just said he was "very happy" for Wednesday and the announcement of the contract. Over at the side of the podium, sitting in a chair, Rose tried to control a big smile.

BYU isn't going to out-bid the top dogs in the college game. Never will. But they believe there is power in the message.

I asked Rose if he made BYU squirm a little. He said he was the one who squirmed the most.

Compensating Rose? It is BYU, after all.

That doesn't mean BYU can't get creative in how they'll pay a guy like Rose. Aside from lucrative shoe and apparel deals and a broadcast contract for radio and TV, there are other very imaginative and innovative ways of getting it done.

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