ESPL: two key player of Kentucky have just departed today and now

where they are, they are right back here. Thank you for being here today. (Applause)


I would like to thank Mark and Ray for all of their help during this process, it is really good. Quickly, I will give Mark a jersey. We take these photo ops all of the time. I will finish my remarks and get him up here. Let’s do this real quick. (Applause)




There is an old song from the ’70s by Jefferson Starship, Find Your Way Back. I date myself. It is time for us to find our way back. (Cheers).


To do that, you need a guide, you have to have someone who has been on the journey before and knows the way, the work, the challenges and eventually the beauty of the destination. That’s right. To understand the heart of this special place, and we have such a person today, a letterman, check the box; we have a captain, check the box; (cheers); we have a champion, check the box; (cheers); we have got a guy that understands the professional game, check the box; we’ve got a scholar, I have never hired a Rhode Scholar candidate in my life, check the box. Most of all, we have an amazing husband, father and coach, check three boxes. (Cheers).


He will guide us back to our heart, through all of the changes in college sports, he understands the DNA that leads us to the destination. He says this changed the trajectory of his life. We’re excited for this, for him to do this for our program and our guys.


A couple more sentences and I’m out, because you didn’t come here to hear me. It is with great pleasure we welcome today the Pope family. Welcome, it is our honor you are here. (Applause)


And while I’m making introductions, I will introduce the new head basketball coach of the University of Kentucky, Mark Pope! (Cheers)




COACH POPE: Hey, Mitch, Mitch, Mitch, hold on. So, guys, we see these introductory press conferences all the time. Nobody in the world has ever seen anything like this. (Cheers). But I’m about to break tradition.


(Cheers – Go big blue! Go big blue! Go big blue! Go big blue! Go big blue! Go big blue! Go big blue! Go big blue! Go big blue!)


I’m about to break tradition. At every one of these press conferences the coach comes up and stands there with the AD and takes a picture with a jersey that they made that ends up in a closet somewhere. We’re not doing that. (Cheers). (Cheers).


Hey, this jersey comes from a hallowed place in my home because it is a jersey I got to wear with my teammates and all of Kentucky nations in the national championship games in the Meadowlands of New York. And that’s not just a jersey that will go in the closet. It is a jersey that has blood, sweat, and tears and love and it is

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