Cougars move quickly after Cleveland resigns

PROVO, Utah -- Brigham Young promoted basketball assistant Dave Rose to head coach Monday, filling the opening left when Steve Cleveland resigned last week to take over at Fresno State.

Rose, Cleveland's associate head coach, was chosen as interim coach when Cleveland announced his resignation Saturday. Rose said he didn't expect to get his first Division I coaching job quite this way.

"It has been just about backwards from what I expected," he said.

Cleveland's surprise announcement that he was returning to his hometown forced new BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe to scramble to find a replacement quickly. The NCAA signing period begins Wednesday and the Cougars did not want to lose any of their recruits who had verbally committed thinking Cleveland would still be coaching in Provo.

Rose was on Cleveland's staff for all eight seasons at BYU, and his promotion keeps the current players and recruits from having to endure a complete staff overhaul.

This is Rose's first Division I head coaching job. He spent seven years coaching Dixie State College, going 167-57 at the southern Utah junior college.

Although Rose is prevented by NCAA rules from speaking specifically about recruiting efforts, he did say he was "confident that recruiting would go well."

"We need to grow this program, we don't need to rebuild it," Rose said.

Still, the Cougars will have to develop confidence and consistency to improve on the just-finished 9-21 season, Rose said.

"We'll be a lot better. I think our team has learned a lot of lessons," he said. "This team is in pretty good shape."

BYU's athletic department was able to act quickly because it was confident Rose could step in for Cleveland, Holmoe said.

"We felt we had the right guy right under our noses," Holmoe said.

Rose's appointment spared Cougar players from having to sit through a lengthy coaching search.

"One wasn't needed," guard Austin Ainge said. "We got the right guy and we're excited."

Rose helped Cleveland take BYU from a 1-25 team in 1996-97 to a Mountain West Conference contender. The Cougars tied for two-regular season MWC titles and made the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT twice.

Rose played at Dixie State before transferring to Houston and was a guard on the Cougars' Phi Slamma Jamma team that was runner-up in the 1983 NCAA Tournament.