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

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 12:10 a.m. MDT

Brigham Young University basketball head coach Dave Rose (Mike Terry, Deseret News) 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.

(Left to right) Deedee Corradini, USA President of Women's Ski Jumping, and ski jumpers Lindsey Van and Abby Hughes are  aall smiles during a press conference celebrating the International Olympic Committee's decision to include women ski jumpers in the 2014 Sochi (Russia) Winter Games on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.   (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) (Left to right) Deedee Corradini, USA President of Women's Ski Jumping, and ski jumpers Lindsey Van and Abby Hughes are aall smiles during a press conference celebrating the International Olympic Committee's decision to include women ski jumpers in the 2014 Sochi (Russia) Winter Games on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

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.

Remember, BYU's Marriott School of Business Management is ranked one of the top programs in the nation. There are advisors working with BYU who have created wealth many times over.

Holmoe spoke of "future things" that would be done differently with BYU's program, changes that would be for the good. He didn't elaborate.

But, this wasn't about the money, according to everyone who spoke at the presser. It was about the right fit and supporting the right man for the job and a message more important than scores or wins or coin.

Holmoe, Samuelson and Rose made that clear.

Consider, wins aside, under Rose BYU has had the most consistent academic performance from its basketball athletes than any in the country.

Rose has the fourth-highest winning percentage among active coaches (159-45) at .779.

He just coached the national scoring champion and player of the year.

Rose has averaged 26.5 wins a season at a school where before he arrived, BYU had just one season with 28 wins and that was 59 years ago, back in 1950-51.

Wednesday was a no-brainer for BYU's administration. You could see it coming from afar.

Dave Rose and the word success? A trend? No mistake about it.

A keeper? Let nothing stand in the way.

An investment? Hold, don't sell.

Yes, there is a leap into a new conference on the horizon for BYU, and the Cougars are not doing it with a rookie.

Both BYU and Rose agreed this week to extend their marriage. At least they have something in place for the next five years, or at such time that the whole shindig needs to be redone again.

And this contract? It is something never witnessed before in Provo.

This kind of BYU faith in an athletic coach, with its accompanying legal chain is extraordinarily symbolic.

Said Edwards, "Yes, times have certainly changed."

email: dharmon@desnews.com

twitter: Harmonwrites

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