BYU basketball: Former Cougar basketball coach Steve Cleveland overseeing new 'team'

Published: Monday, Dec. 16 2013 5:25 p.m. MST

At the pregame fireside put on by BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall and his players near the Notre Dame campus on the eve of the game, about 40 missionaries turned out, along with numerous non-member friends and less-active members.

“The only way a missionary could come was if they brought an investigator or less-active member,” Cleveland said. “It was good to be with them. There was a great spirit there. Both Sister Cleveland and I felt really good about being there with our missionaries and the people they brought. Bronco and the players were just perfect. The message was perfect. The spirit was there. The music was good. He’s got some talented musicians on that team.”

Of course, Cleveland maintains a close connection with BYU. He hired current Cougar basketball coach Dave Rose as an assistant in 1997, and Rose replaced Cleveland when he took the job at Fresno State. Several other people who were part of the program when Cleveland was the head coach are still around.

“Dave is a close friend of mine and will be forever,” Cleveland said. “They’re all there. We had a good family there, and they have a great family there now.”

At that time, Cleveland said he had been able to watch only one BYU game, a close home loss to nationally ranked Iowa State.

“But I get a lot of reports,” he said. “From what I understand their guard play is much-improved and it looks like they’re going to have a great year.”

Cleveland, and the members of the church throughout Indiana, are thrilled about the temple in Indianapolis that will be completed next year.

“That should be a wonderful thing,” Cleveland said.

Meanwhile, he is focused on his task as mission president and keeping up with the hectic pace in the Hoosier State.

“September and October is always the best time for a coach, as you get your team ready for the season,” Cleveland said.

His current “team” appears to be in midseason form. “We’re pretty busy,” Cleveland said, “and we’re doing well."

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