Education Week: Tom Holmoe addresses state of BYU athletics

Maddi Dayton
Tom Holmoe speaks to a BYU Education Week audience about his high hopes for the upcoming sports seasons. (Ari Davis)

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe began his Education Week Q & A session by saying there are 623 student athletes at the university.

“Not ‘about 600,” not ‘over 500.’ It’s 623 athletes,” Holmoe said. “Each of them has a name and they are here at BYU because they’re really, really special at what they do.”

Holmoe said that his focus is on these athletes.

“What’s best for our BYU athletes? That’s what I pursue,” Holmoe said. “We’re doing everything we can to put our kids in the best possible situations.”

When asked about the chances of BYU joining a P5 conference, he said, “I owe it to my teams to concentrate on right now. I owe it to our program to look to the future.”

One thing Holmoe said he is looking forward to this year is “Inside BYU Football,” the new BYU Broadcasting TV series airing this fall.

He said the show will “open up the door” and let fans see what happens behind the scenes and for every bad press story, there are a hundred beautiful experiences that fans don’t see.

“If you get to see my view, you’re going to appreciate it,” Holmoe said.

He also said he is “hot on BYU football” and there is a lot to look forward to this season.

“I like our team, I think they’re good,” Holmoe said. “We’re where we should be.”

Holmoe said that he thinks Taysom Hill is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and called Hill an anomaly in the weight room and “kind of a legend.”

The team’s kicking game should be good, it’s exciting to have head coach Bronco Mendenhall back coaching defense and Tejan Koroma is a great center, according to Holmoe.

As for more games with the University of Utah, Holmoe said that contracts aren’t signed, but BYU will play some games with its biggest rival.

In men’s basketball, new assistant coach Quincy Lewis is coaching defense as well. When Lewis was the head coach at Lone Peak High School in Alpine, Utah, his defensive team was extraordinary Holmoe said, so that is something to watch for with basketball.

Holmoe also fielded a few questions about the recruiting process.

While he said academics matter a great deal for potential BYU athletes, the first thing coaches look at is athletics. If potential student athletes can’t play, they can try to get into BYU on their own. Recruiting is for athletes, he said.

Coaches look at all competitions, club or high school. He said it doesn’t matter how long an athlete has played; the primary concern is whether an athlete is good enough to play for BYU.

The exposure that BYU sports gives to the LDS Church is significant, he said. There are a number of non-LDS fans whose only association with the church is BYU athletics. “That is a great opportunity and an incredible responsibility which we take seriously,” Holmoe said. “Sometimes we fall short a little bit, but I think it’s a good avenue.”


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