Big 12 Introduction Series: What to Know About BYU as the Cougars Officially Join the Big 12

We put a poll on our Twitter account Thursday asking which of the newcomers to the Big 12 OSU fans are most excited about, and the results (as of writing) heavily favored BYU.

The Cougars officially join the league Sunday along with UCF, Houston and Cincinnati. Here is a zoomed out look at BYU.

So where is BYU?

BYU is in Provo, Utah — a city of about 114,000. It’s on Utah Lake and is less than an hour drive south of Salt Lake City.

How far is that from Stillwater, America?

Driving from Stillwater to Provo would take about 17 hours, according to Google Maps. It’s a 1,125-mile journey.

What are BYU’s football facilities like?

The Cougars play at LaVell Edwards Stadium, named after legendary head coach LaVell Edwards. Edwards led the Cougars from 1972 to 2000, amassing a 257-101-3 record and seven bowl wins.

The stadium opened in 1964 as Cougar Stadium and features a beautiful mountain back drop. It was renamed LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2000.

How many people does the stadium seat?

The stadium holds 63,740 people. When it opened, it could hold 45,000 people before renovations put the capacity at its current allotment.

Who is their coach?

A former BYU running back, Kalani Sitake has coached his alma mater since 2016 after coming over from a defensive coordinator gig at Oregon State. In seven seasons, Sitake is 56-34 at BYU and has led the Cougars to a bowl game six times.

What about their basketball arena? How many does it seat and in what shape is it in?

The Cougars play at the J. Willard Marriott Center, an arena that holds 18,987, the 10th-largest capacity in college hoops. It opened in 1971. That type of atmosphere has resulted into some major homecourt advantage for BYU, as the Cougars won 44 straight home games between 2000 and 2003 and won 53 straight at the Marriott Center from 2005 to 2008.

Don’t take my word for how good the arena can be. Here is OSU alum Don Haskin’s on BYU’s arena:

“The Marriott Center is one of the top five places to play in the country, not just because of its size, but because its facilities are fantastic,” Haskins said. “If there is a better arena, I haven’t seen it.”

Who is their coach on the hardwood?

Mark Pope has coached the Cougars since 2019, coming over from Utah Valley. He is 87-41 as BYU’s coach, leading to Cougars to the NCAA Tournament in 2021.

Pope has an NBA pedigree, playing 153 career games. A 6-foot-10 forward, Pope averaged 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds a game during his career that spanned from 1997 to 2005.

Have they been competitive in football and basketball of late?

BYU’s football team is seemingly always relevant. Only once in the past 18 seasons have the Cougars finished with a losing record. In that same time period, the Cougars have seven double-digit-win seasons and two other nine-win seasons. BYU has been ranked in the AP Poll four of the past five seasons, a time period where the Cougars are 43-21.

The Cougars’ basketball team has reached the 20-win mark in three of Mark Pope’s first four years at the helm. This past season was the only year Pope hasn’t reached 20 wins, as BYU went 19-15. The last time BYU won an NCAA Tournament game was in 2014.