BYU assistant coach Dave Rose turned down the chance to make a heralded return to his alma mater and to work alongside newly appointed head coach, and NBA superstar, Clyde Drexler.

Instead of basking in the glitz and glamour of Drexler's Houston Cougars, Rose will quietly continue putting his nose to the grindstone for Steve Cleveland's BYU Cougars.The question is, why?

"There are good things that are happening here," explained Rose, who teamed with Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon on the Houston squad that lost to North Carolina State in the memorable 1983 national championship game. "I just think being here is the best thing for me.

"I would have had to start from scratch again in rebuilding a program," he continued. "There's already some momentum here. We've inherited a huge job. The time will come when BYU will win a WAC championship and go to the NCAAs again. That time will come sooner rather than later."

Houston, like BYU, is a once-proud program that has fallen on hard times in recent years. The Cougars, who compete in Conference USA, finished with a 9-20 record this season and have ridden a downward spiral the past decade.

Athletic director Chet Gladchuk fired coach Alvin Brooks on March 1 and by March 3, the day BYU fell to Tulsa in the WAC Tournament, Rose fielded a phone call from Gladchuk, inquiring if he would be interested in the head coaching job. Yes, Rose was interested.

About a week went by without further word from Gladchuk, but Rose was tracked down by members of the Houston media, asking him to respond to rumors that he would be named an assistant to Drexler. Rose shrugged off such talk until last Saturday, when Gladchuk contacted Rose and placed that very offer on the table.

Rose went to Houston on Monday, with Cleveland's blessing, and spent a couple of days visiting with Drexler, Reid Gettys and George Walker, also former Houston Cougars who will join Drexler's staff. In the end, Rose declined to join the Phi Slamma Jamma reunion party.

Not that it wasn't tempting.

"It was a real difficult decision," he said. "But you're dealing with two great basketball traditions and great people on both sides. I don't think I could have made a bad decision."

Rose chose to remain at BYU Wednesday morning and that afternoon, before Houston officials held a press conference officially introducing Drexler as the new head coach, Rose called Cleveland, informing him of his decision. Instead of being part of the hoopla in Houston, Rose boarded a plane headed for Utah.

"We're happy to have him back with us," said Cleveland, who hired Rose from Dixie College a year ago. "It wouldn't have been a lateral move for him - it would have been a great opportunity. I was as excited as he was for that opportunity, though I would have hated to lose him."

Cleveland said Rose's contributions thus far at BYU have been significant. "He isn't a guy I've known my whole life, but he's a legitimate sounding board for me," said Cleveland. "He's a great game coach and his creativity is refreshing. In two to three years, I expect Dave to be getting a call to be a head coach."

For now, with this recent saga over, Rose ready to return to the task at hand: recruiting. Rose is the staff's recruiting coordinator and the Cougars expect to haul in at least two players during the April signing period. Rose and Cleveland plan to travel to Hutchinson, Kan., this week to scout players at the National JC Tournament there.

"We have great chemistry on this staff," said Cleveland, who led BYU to a 9-21 mark in his first season as a Division I coach. "We're here for one reason, to turn this thing around. We're making good steps. In a small way, we have recaptured a little bit of that magic."