A Mark Pope jersey has made its way to the Pope

Mark Pope fever is taking over the world.
University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and new men’s basketball coach Mark Pope
University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and new men’s basketball coach Mark Pope / Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY

The John Calipari era is over, and now it is time for a Pope takeover in Lexington. Mitch Barnhart hired former Wildcats basketball player and member of the 1996 National Championship team, Mark Pope. 

There, of course, have already been plays on the last name Pope by Big Blue Nation as a fan showed up in a full Pope outfit for Coach Pope's introductory press conference. 

Well, now the news has made it all the way to Vatican City as Pope Francis was brought the jersey from Coach Pope's introductory speech by Lexington priest Father Jim Sichko. 

It was really cool to see that the jersey made its way to Pope Francis. 

To me, what this signifies is the excitement in Lexington and the entire state of Kentucky right now about the recent hire of Coach Pope. We are starting to see the commitments roll in for Coach Pope in the transfer portal, and he is putting together a team that can really compete in year one. 

He has hired a really good staff that will be elite on the recruiting trail, so there is a ton for Big Blue Nation to be excited about. 

What Big Blue Nation seems to be most excited about when it comes to the Coach Pope era is just how good of a person he is outside of basketball. He takes time to talk with fans, and you can just tell how happy he is to be in Lexington coaching his alma mater. Every day, it feels more and more like Coach Pope will end up being a home run hire. 


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Andrew Stefaniak

ANDREW STEFANIAK