The BYU men's basketball team bounced back from a disappointing loss at home to Loyola Marymount with a 77-64 victory over Pepperdine on Saturday night.
As BYU rolls to an inevitable 20-win season for the seventh consecutive year, should anyone really be surprised at the Cougars' success despite the loss of the perennial national player of the year (Jimmer Fredette) and the team's best defensive player (Jackson Emery) after a thrilling run to the Sweet 16 last year?
As the majority of the offseason discussions among anxious Cougar fans centered around who was going to replace the offensive production of Jimmer Fredette, any fears should have been quelled as soon as Dave Rose confirmed he was headed back to the Cougar bench.
After all, Coach Rose has been the most significant contributor to the resurrection of a program that has now been to the NCAA tournament a school-record five times in a row and shows no signs of losing momentum in the coming years.
Rose has been at BYU since Coach Steve Cleveland brought him along as an assistant coach in 1997 after the BYU basketball team had won just one game during the 1996-97 season.
Rose served as the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator under Coach Cleveland, eventually being promoted to the head coach position shortly after Coach Cleveland left for Fresno State in 2005.
Rose's experience and expertise in recruiting, in particular, has been evidenced by his staff's ability to effectively juggle two-year LDS missions, player suspensions and season-ending injuries, yet still be a consistent 20-game winner year after year.
For example, in 2007 BYU's leading scorer Keena Young graduated after leading the Cougars to a 25-9 record, but Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard carried the load. What about when Plaisted and Cummard left?
Jimmer and Jackson Emery stepped in to guide the Cougars to back-to-back 30-win seasons. No Jimmer and Jackson? Brandon Davies and Matt Carlino are now slotted in to lead the Cougars through the rest of this season and beyond.
The list goes on as Tyler Haws returns from an LDS mission prior to next season and as top recruits such as Jordan Chatman, Nick Emery and T.J. Haws are lined up to call the Marriott Center home in the coming seasons.
However, equally important to Dave Rose is maintaining success off the floor, as demonstrated by his and the BYU team's involvement with the Children's with Cancer Christmas Foundation for the last 12+ years. In fact, you can help Coach Rose's ongoing initiative with the Foundation by voting for Coach Rose in the Coaches' Charity Challenge here.
Rose's fight against cancer became more personal in 2009 after he was diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer. Fortunately, since Coach Rose's emergency surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, no other cancer has been found.
Rose has since been given a clean bill of health as the basketball program he has rebuilt continues to be as strong and as healthy as ever.
Coach Rose leads BYU into a pivotal stretch this week, as the Cougars journey to ACC territory with a non-conference game at Virginia Tech on January 25 and huge home games against West Coast Conference leaders Saint Mary's and Gonzaga on January 28 and February 2, respectively.
These next three games will have a tremendous impact on whether the Cougars will have a chance at an at-large berth for a sixth straight trip to the NCAA tournament, or whether the Cougars will have to count on a championship run in the WCC postseason tournament to go dancing in March.
But no matter the outcome of BYU's games this week or the fate of the 2011-12 edition of the BYU men's basketball team, Cougar fans should rest easy that as long as Dave Rose is on the bench, the men's basketball program will continue to enjoy a clean bill of health—and that is something that should never be taken for granted.