BYU Cougars

General Information

Founded: 1902

Conference: Big 12 Conference (2023-)

Past Conferences: West Coast Conference (WCC), Mountain West Conference (MWC), Western Athletic Conference (WAC), Mountain States Athletic Conference (MSAC), Independent

Arena: Marriott Center

City: Provo, Utah

Championships and Titles

  • 3 Conference Tournament Championships
  • 27 Conference Regular Season Championships*

BYU Cougars Team History

Brigham Young University (BYU) has one of the most extensive histories in NCAA basketball. Starting in 1903, the “Cougars” quickly developed a rivalry with Utah State University and the University of Utah.

Initially hitting success in the 1920s, the Cougars broke into the “mainstream” in the Stan Watts era. The head coach quickly turned BYU into a prolific program that advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in its first appearance in 1950. The following season, the Cougars returned to the Elite Eight while also winning the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).

Star players like Roland Minson and Mel Hutchins led the Cougars’ team stats and had both their numbers retired in 2013.

But even after Minson and Hutchins’ departures, BYU remained a top program under Watts. It won its conference (Western Athletic Conference {WCC}) six more times, returned to the NCAA Tournament for five and won another NIT for the remainder of Watts’ tenure, which lasted until 1972.

Coach Frank Arnold

The next coaches had big shoes to fill. After a few subpar seasons, BYU returned to respectability under new coach Frank Arnold and star player Danny Ainge. The future NBA champion led the BYU Cougars’ team stats and helped the team return to the NCAA Tournament. BYU made the Elite Eight in 1981 for the final time (as of 2022.)

Ainge left in 1981 and Arnold in 1983, but the Cougars stayed competitive. In the early 90s, Roger Reid led the school to consistent dominance over the WCC, although its March Madness run was short, not advancing past the second round. BYU was an interesting underdog on the NCAAB odds.

This would be a trend for BYU, even after switching to the Mountain West Conference (MWC) in the 2000s. With Dave Rose taking over in 2005, BYU finally advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2011. And in the 2010s, “Jimmer Mania” gripped the nation thanks to the exploits of James Taft “Jimmer” Fredette, who was lighting up college basketball.

While BYU did not make it past the Sweet Sixteen, Fredette became a high-profile player who became successful overseas. BYU then stayed competitive in the WCC and routinely participated in the NCAA Tournament, albeit not beyond the second round. Moving to the Big 12 may prove tricky for the program.

All-Time BYU Cougars Records

  • Points Scored

    • Tyler Haws: 2,720
    • Jimmer Fredette: 2,599
    • Danny Ainge: 2,467
  • Rebounds

    • Yoeli Childs: 1,053
    • Kyle Collinsworth: 1,047
    • Michael Smith: 922
  • Assists

    • Kyle Collinsworth: 703
    • TJ Haws: 601
    • Matt Montague: 570


Who is the best BYU basketball player of all time?

Plenty of talented players have come from the BYU men’s basketball team. Three of the most notable are Jimmer Fredette, Danny Ainge, and Shawn Bradley, all of whom developed successful professional careers.

Is everyone on the BYU basketball team Mormon?

Despite its status as a Mormon school, not everyone on the BYU men’s basketball team is a Mormon. The school recently made history by starting five players who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

How many NCAA championships has BYU won?

As a school, Brigham Young University has won 12 national titles as of 2022. However, the basketball team has yet to win one. They did win two National Invitation Tournament (NIT) titles.

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